The wife and I work 100% online, remotely, as digital nomads. We handle daily tasks that range from virtual assistance, graphics design, brand design/management, book illustrations, data entry, and more. So, it’s important that we have a reliable connection to the internet.
RV park and small business wifi hotspots that are provided free are not always reliable, not always convenient, and not always secure enough for our safety.
Because of that, we used our AT&T smartphone data plans to work on the go, however, we quickly found that the cost of the data packages were rather high for the amount of data provided before being throttled. Remember, unlimited data is not truly unlimited. It simply means that once you reach a set amount of high speed data that’s capped, you don’t lose data service, it just drops to slower speeds. Ironically, the slower speeds are barely enough to check email, let alone get any work done online.
We stumbled across The Ting a little over a month ago, which is a portable router that fits into your pocket and runs on the Sprint nationwide network. Here’s the initial feedback we had during the first 2 weeks.
First update: arrived, activated, set up, and initial testing done. I want to do a 30 day test just to be sure. Setup will have you pulling your hair out. No manual or instruction is sent with the device. You’ll need to Google “ting hotspot setup” to find an online guide/tutorial. They do not have a support number on the site, so you’ll only find email of faq options for help there. If you Google “ting support number” you’ll find their contact page with the phone number that I couldn’t locate on the site. Once setup, this thing worked awesome. I changed the WiFi account name to OfficeDrift (with .com) so it gets a little brand exposure in parks and areas WiFi is not reliable and people check for other signals. I’ll give another update in a week or so and then a final in 30 days. So far it’s just the set up that’s stressful and connection/usage is smooth sailing.
Data test 2: 15 miles outside big city limits (3 bar signal). streaming an episode of the walking dead from the AMC site + 1 laptop being used for standard duty online work (data entry) = roughly 880 mb. (Not even 1 gb) out of the 30gb allotment. However, if you constantly stream movies, that’s about 25 to 30 movies while you work. (25 to 30 hours). We need the hotspot more for work, so we’ll do 1 or 2 movies per week = 4 to 8 gb per month in entertainment and 22 to 26 gb per month for work (roughly 8 to 10 hours of data entry =1gb). So, that’s roughly 200+ hours of work per month online. We also still have our at&t data for emergency backup, downgraded to 6gb per month, just in case. If all goes well, this saves us over $150 to $300 per mo… We can still use free WiFi spots for entertainment usage while using data just for work. Which extends our work hour opportunity even further. We have digital tv receivers that pickup 25 to 200 free channels (including news stations), so we don’t really need WiFi for tv viewing at all. Anyways, figured I would toss that added update out. 😉 the Ting is doing great so far.
We are passed the 30 day mark of testing and paid our first bill last week of $25 for another 30 GB’s. We actually only used 15.3 GB in our first month (85% work related and 15% entertainment).
Cost and Fine Print
We are very happy with the Ting, however, it’s important to keep the fine print in mind if you decide to try the Ting for yourself. They are a 3rd party vendor using the Sprint network and leveraging contracts to provide 30 GB’s for $25 per month. If at any time the company Ting is bought out by a competitor or by sprint themselves, the 30GB deal could go away.
Unfortunately, the unused data does not roll-over, it’s set data blocks of 30 GB per month (Use it or lose it).
With that said, this is a “enjoy it while it lasts” solution to an everyday digital nomad problem (Affordable nationwide data). It may last a few years or it may only be for a few more months.
The initial investment is $40 for the router and they include 30GB with that purchase (We were not billed the $25 until the next billing cycle). That means the router itself is really only $15, since the 30GB data costs $25 (Initial cost of $40 – $25 data cost = $15 router cost).
It’s still a keeper
For us, working remotely as digital nomads, the cost + amount of data is worth the promotion being temporary and ending in the event of a company buyout. We’ll definitely be enjoying the Ting while it lasts, for as long as it lasts and then go back to the drawing board to find another great deal once it eventually ends.
Here’s an added benefit of the Ting, They have a referral program for customers. Basically, if any of your friends, family, etc. decide to buy a Ting using your referral link, you’ll get a $50 bill credit for the first one and a $25 bill credit for each one after that.
Basically, Ting gives you the opportunity to spread the word and never have to pay for data again (Until the fine-print kicks in above). Could you find value in a 30GB data plan for $25 per month and potentially have free data after that for 2 months, 6 months, 1 year, or more, simply by referring Ting to a friend?
The wife and I sure can as digital nomads that rely on data every day.
Get your own Ting and then start spreading the word so you can have free data everywhere you go within Sprints nationwide network too.
Enjoy your Ting!