RingPlus offers good anonymity through occasional cryptocurrency use, but they have issues with reviews and with changing plans. Tello has the highest BBB score as well as access to completely free calling options. Ting clearly gives you smooth access to hotspot and tethering for those who need to use it to surf with their computers.
Covered in this report
High BBB score and official accreditation.
Among the cheapest options for do it yourself cellphone plans.
Best for: Those who want to build their own cellphone plans.
Tether or use your phone as a hotspot as much as you want.
Two nationwide networks with both CDMA and GSM available.
Best for: Those who are expecting to need to offer Internet via a hotspot.
The occasional ability to use anonymous currencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin.
Bring your own device including for data only plans.
Best for: Those looking for maximum anonymity from a cheaper cellphone carrier.
It’s a fact that sometimes you just need the cheapest cell phone plan that you can find. Here are some examples of some more economical plans available online, including data on how they stack up against one another along a few important metrics.
Tello has some strong features such as their TRUSTe certified privacy for Internet security, as well as a Starfield seal for this as well. They are definitely a newer company, but reviews for their flexibility and customer service are strong.
- Flexible Plans-You can choose from many different possibilities when you build your own plan, making costs go from $5 per month to $63 per month based on what you want. This way, you can pay for only what you’re going to use with nothing extraneous.
- Number Porting-The site can handle full number porting so that you can keep whatever number you have now if you want to make the switch over to a cheaper plan.
- International Calling-The Tello app is going to work through your WiFi connection no matter where you are. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can make a call. You won’t be stuck in other countries, essentially.
- BBB Accredited-The service is accredited through the Better Business Bureau from their main business location in Atlanta, Georgia. They currently have an A- listing, largely from not being around too long yet.
Tink has general reviews from major places online such as Vice, Lifehack, The Verge, PC, ABC, Yahoo, and others. The service has some extra features like easy hotspot options and two networks with both CDM and GSM available.
- Norton Secured-Internet security through Ting is from Norton, so this will be a boon if you happen to trust them as a company.
- Smooth Hotspots and Tethering-You can use hotspots or Internet tethering through Ting and it says this is straightforward in reviews, whereas it’s often not as much the case in other services.
- Two Networks-You have both Sprint and TMobile for networks available through Ting. This way, you can use either a CDM or a GSM network if you choose. As a result, you have access to a wide number of phones for BYOD. It’s always good to have extra choices, after all.
RingPlus has some seriously impressive promotions on occasion, though their everyday rates are usually not as good as other options. They are impressive in terms of options for staying anonymous many times as well.
- Bring Your Own Device-You can bring your own device through the service, though it requires you to have a CDMA compatible phone or a data only device.
- Bitcoin-It’s been reported that on occasion RingPlus can actually accept Dogecoin, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies. This makes it a smart choice for those who are worried about staying incognito while using their phone.
- Free Radio Stations-When you sign up for a plan on RingPlus, you get 40 free radio stations you can try out.
- No Contract Sprint Service-You don’t have any contract that you’re stuck with on RingPLus, yet you still get access to the Sprint network. Whether this is a plus or not will depend largely on how effective the service is in your area.
Head to Head
The main pricing plan from Tello is $18 per month for 2 GB of 4G LTE data. Then, you can get $15 per month for unlimited minutes and $3 more for unlimited texts for $36 per month for 3 months during deals when they’re active. You can also pay as you go. You can purchase credit a little bit at a time. For example, $10 will net you 333 minutes, 1000 texts, or 500 MB of data.
The average price for Ting is apparently $23 per month. If you’re going minutes only, you’ll end up better with Tello of course, since they are $5 cheaper. Thre’s no plans for Ting, and instead, you do it a la carte, just like what both Tello and RingPlus tend to offer. This comes out to $6 per line, $3 per 100 minutes, and $3 per 100 MB of data. Obviously, you save more the more you order, with data coming out to just $20 for 2 GB, for example.
Pricing plans for RingPlus start at $5 or so for 250 MB LTE data, $5 for 250 minutes and $5 for 250 texts. You can choose either a free or a premium plan as a baseline. The network used looks like it’s going to be Sprint, and this does include 3G and 4G LTE as well as WiFi. Promotional plans also come and go on the site, such as the Mad Turkish Coffee plan which goes for $4 per month with a $10 activation fee with unlimited minutes and unlimited 64k data or 1 GB of LTE at $3 more. This often makes for a cost that’s significantly higher than what Tello can offer. The exception is that RingPlus frequently has plans that pop up and are insanely cheap. So, in other words, they are a great choice for quick service when the promotions are available. There are also occasionally plans starting at Free which gives you 200 minutes and 10 MB of 3G data, and going through “Joy” at $2 per month with 200 texts and 50 MB, and going through many plans all the way to $50 per month for “Bliss” which gives you unlimited data and texts with 5 GB of 3G data.
Overall, there definitely appears to be a disparity between Tello and RingPlus especially when it comes to pricing stability. RingPLus gives the appearance of moving around their pricing a lot with constant promotions coming up and then expiring in just a few months, as well as a myriad of plans that are there and then aren’t. For example, they appear to collapse the plans into a series of add-on options without being clear about what the plans are on their page, and reviews seem to differ on this as well. Tello’s plans are easier to understand and the plans don’t seem to change around. All this is to say that you can probably get better deals on RingPLus, but Tello appears more reliable. Ting also has comparable pricing with the others, though you actually have the interesting option to get a line but no minutes for only $6, or pay just $9 a month if you need minimal minutes. It does look like Ting may be a bit more expensive, with Tello being on the cheapest side.
There’s no subsidy through Tello, so it may not be the best place to purchase a phone that’s expensive, that’s one feature point worth noting. They do have them though. You can buy a Galaxy phone through the service if you want, for example. There’s actually a wide range of different phones available in terms of different price points. You can also switch from plan to plan on a dime, so it’s a good service if you find that you need a differing amount of data, minutes, or texts month to month Not everyone is going to always need unlimited, after all. You may need many texts one month, so the extra $3 will be worth it to you, and the next, you may not need any at all. There’s going to be few other services that give you as much flexibility with this as Tello does.
RingPlus is definitely going for the award for really low rates and special promotions for plans. There are offers like the Mad Turkish Coffee plan which goes for just $4 per month for example which gives you access to unlimited data at slow 64k speeds as well as unlimited minutes. Or, you can get unlimited texts instead. These plans frequently expire and then renew, however. If you keep an eye out for them, you’ll see more coming all the time. The main thing with RingPlus is that you also don’t need contracts, and you can get some free apps like the RingPlus radio services. Also, you can actually pay anonymously sometimes with Bitcoin or Dogecoin. The service also works with Sprint, so you’ll keep that solid network if it’s one that you like.
Ting uses both T-mobile and Sprint for a network. This feature makes it so you can use a GSM or a CDMA phone, so you have some additional flexibility there. Apparently, the GSM T-mobile coverage is quicker and works better in cities, whereas the Ting version for CDMA works more effectively out in the country although it’s a bit slower.
Overall, RingPlus lets you bring your own device including with data plans only, which it doesn’t look like Tello lets you do this, so that’s an advantage for RIngPlus. Also, Ting lets you do hotspot and tethering, where the other options are at least not as forthcoming about whether you can do that with them easily.Ting also has access to both Sprint and TMobile, and RingPlus is actually Sprint only. This means that if you want to bring any kind of phone with you, RingPLus may limit you in a way that Ting does not.
Tello gets 8.5 out of 10 through Trust Pilot with over 90 reviews logged. Many of the reviewers are happy with the Customer service including immediate callbacks. They also like that the pricing is fairly even and doesn’t constantly change like with other services. Negatives from reviews include a lack of options when it comes to roaming, though you can make calls directly from the Internet if you so choose as long as you have that connection. There have apparently been some issues on occasions with the removal of reviews as well, but they appear to be reinstated, and Tello is certainly highly responsive to reviews. Other positive reviews include an 8.7 out of 10 rating from Bible Money Matters and a full 10 from Trust Radius. Tello also get an A- rating from the Better Business Bureau, where they are fully accredited. This is mostly just because Tello is such a new service, however. They only have 1 or 2 complaints which have been fixed.
Positive Ting reviews include a 4.7 from the Science Dictionary, and an 8.8 out of 10 from the Review Technica. Positive review reasons include a low cost on adding additional lines, as well as the ability to tether or create a hotspot without having to worry about much additional setup or cost. Reviewers also liked the free alerts on line limits, strong customer service, and even an early termination relief program. Complaints included a lack of subsidy, just like with many of these systems, and some coverage shortages. It was also said that the data costs are a bit high.
RingPlus has a few negative reviews floating around online, including a negative review from the BBB for their location in Beverly Hills, CA from users specifically with just 1.5 out of 5 with around 10 reviews. This is for more than 30 complaints filed against the business, with more than 25 not fixed. The actual BBB service itself gives the group an F. It’s also not accredited. Other reviews come from The Frugal Caller, which praises the service’s ability to accept Bitcoin, Dogecoin, or Litecoin. However, it looks like this can vary based on your particular location. Negatives people have pointed out include that you’re stuck only with the Sprint plan, so you end up with trouble if Sprint doesn’t have good coverage in your area. They also have a lot of advertisements through apps like RingPLus radio or during dialing sometimes which can irk some people.
Overall, Tello doesn’t have the most reviews ever, but those that exist are largely positive compared to other phone services. Their rating on BBB could be better, but again, they are a newer company, so it’s hard to hold that against them too much as of yet. In comparison to RingPlus, however, their rating from the BBB is fantastic since RingPLus actually gets an F, mostly due to a failure to respond to complaints. That means you may want to heed the reviews and stay away from RingPLus if you’re worried about being able to interface with the company well.