Ting, the Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) prepaid MVNO, launched a beta test of its bring-your-own-Sprint-device program this week. The company said it will not charge users an activation fee for porting a Sprint device to the Ting service.
Click here to watch Ting's tongue-in-cheek video of its BYOD technical process.
In a blog post, Ting's Andrew Moore-Crispin wrote that once a consumer's device is activated on the Ting service it will immediately be able to share pooled minutes, messages and megabytes of data at the Ting rate of $6 per month per device.
Moore-Crispin said that the goal of the beta test is to port hundreds of Sprint devices to Ting and that the process will basically require consumers to enter their inactive Sprint device's ESN into a Web site and change a few settings, including the MMS and possibly 4G settings. Currently, the Ting BYOD program only supports WiMAX, not LTE.
Moore-Crispin also noted that the five Sprint devices that consumers will be able to port to the Ting network first are the HTC EVO 4G, the Samsung Galaxy S II (Epic Touch 4G), the LG Optimus S, the HTC EVO 3D 4G and the Motorola Photon 4G. Other devices will likely be added to the list, but there are certain Sprint devices that will not be able to be ported to Ting. Those include any devices still active on Sprint's network, any Google Nexus devices, the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, any Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry devices and any push-to-talk devices.
Ting announced in August that it would launch a BYOD program in the fourth quarter that would allow customers to bring any Sprint device onto Ting's service rather than buying a new phone with Ting. As a prepaid MVNO, Ting charges full price for its devices since it does not subsidize them.
Ting is an MVNO run by Internet domain company Tucows. The MVNO launched service in February with Sprint's CDMA network and Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network.
Ting also plans to take advantage of Sprint's nascent LTE network. The company started selling a handful of LTE devices in August and now has sold more than 1,000 LTE smartphones. Those devices included the Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC Evo 4G LTE and Motorola Mobility Photon Q 4G LTE, three of Sprint's premier LTE smartphones. Since Ting is a no-contract prepaid carrier, all three of the devices are unsubsidized and cost above $500.
The MVNO offers minutes, text messages and data in different buckets. If customers use more than they have paid for in a certain month, they are not charged an overage fee, but instead are bumped up to the next usage tier for that month. Likewise, if customers use less than they had thought they would need, they are bumped down to the next lowest usage tier and will receive a credit on their bill for the difference. Users can continuously monitor their usage via an online dashboard.
- see this blog post
Sprint MVNO Ting to launch BYOD program in Q4
Ting MVNO starts selling LTE smartphones for Sprint's network
Ting MVNO hopes to offer iPhone
Ting promises LTE smartphones from LG, HTC 'sooner than later'
Updated Nov. 20 to reflect that Ting has launched its beta test and that it has sold 1,000 LTE devices.