Ting, which currently operates as a mobile virtual network operator of Sprint, said it purchased a majority stake in a small, independent Internet service provider (ISP) in Charlottesville, Va., called Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI). "Just like that, we're starting our new mission to bring the things that people love about Ting for mobile to the world of fixed access," the company said.
Sprint MVNO Ting is adding support for GSM service and will launch SIM cards that can be used in unlocked GSM phones. Although Ting is not saying which U.S. GSM carrier it is working with, a coverage map provided by the company of its GSM partner indicates that it will be partnering with T-Mobile US.
GSM Nation, which launched in 2010 to sell unlocked GSM phones in the United States and elsewhere, is now moving into the MVNO game. The company recently launched its US Mobile offering in a beta testing mode, and it plans to commercially launch the MVNO sometime in the next six to eight weeks.
Sprint MVNO Ting is cutting its data pricing, making it less expensive especially for customers who use a lot of data on its service. The price cuts come two years after Ting's initial launch.
Sprint MVNO Ting is launching devices with support for Sprint's tri-mode LTE service, dubbed "Spark," which Sprint itself is just getting off the ground. According to Ting, it is the first Sprint MVNO to offer support for Spark.
Sprint MVNO Ting, which is owned by Tucows, confirmed it is now providing service to Sprint-issued Apple iPhone 4 and 4S smartphones. The company described the support as a beta program, which Ting said means that it can provide the service to any new and existing customer but that it cannot promote it or market it on its website.
There's a new school of mobile virtual network operators that have made their debut during the past couple of years offering innovative price plans, compelling devices and alternative distribution methods. But what makes these latest MVNOs--like Solavei, Ultra Mobile, FreedomPop, Ting and Republic Wireless--interesting to me is that they are being courted by their operator partners.
The mobile virtual network operator business is booming again, with new MVNOs launching nearly every week. But unlike the MVNO craze of the 2005-2006 era--highlighted by high-profile failures like ESPN Mobile, Disney Mobile, Amp'd Mobile and Helio--analysts believe that today's MVNOs have a better chance of success thanks to operator support ranging from customer service to billing and even device procurement.
Sprint MVNO Ting confirmed that as of the end of the second quarter it had 25,000 total customers, an indication of strong momentum for the company but a paltry figure in the larger wireless landscape.
In a bid to simplify its service and improve its customers' experience, Sprint Nextel MVNO Ting said it will stop requiring customers to put a deposit down at the beginning of their month of service and will instead only charge customers based on what they use.