The Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, Android 5.0 Lollipop phones are the least expensive unlocked phones you can buy off contract. The term "unlocked" means the phone is not tied to a particular cellular carrier. You can install a SIM card and use the same phone with any of the cellular carriers internationally. Ting is a wireless service provider launched in February of 2012 by Tucows. Ting uses both Sprint CDMA, 3G, 4G WiMAX, and 4G LTE nationwide networks and T-Mobiles GSM HSPA+ networks. Ting offers incredibly low cell phone bills and great service. When combining the Nexus phone and Ting.com we reduced our cell phone bill to an average of nine dollars ($9)per month. With ATT and Verizon the same plan would cost us more then ninty two dollars ($92) per month. After activating our new Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 on Ting we have 100% functionality: voice, SMS, MMS, and data (3G and LTE) including extended LTE bands.
Pantz.org has a great blog post arguing the merits for and against signing up with a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) like Ting titled, Using an MVNO can save you on your cell phone bill.
The following are notes we made when activating our Nexus phones on the Ting (sprint or t-mobile) network. We are very happy with both the phone and mobile service so far.
NOTE: we are in no way affiliated with Ting or Google, but we do offer the Calomel Ting referral URL if you wish to use it for a $25 discount on sign up as well as Ting matching a $25 credit to our account.
The first step is to purchase a Nexus phone and compatable SIM card. Let's get started !
Buy an unlocked Nexus 5 from the Google Play store. Both the 16 gigabyte and 32 gigabyte versions are compatable. The Nexus 5 bought from any other store like Amazon, Best Buy or others will NOT work. You need a pure Google Android OS on a factory default Nexus 5.
Purchase a Nexus 5 UICC Micro SIM card (SIMGLW206R) from Ting for $10.60 (US). Ting will ship the SIM card by way of FedEX and send you a tracking number. After you activate your phone, Ting will credit you $10 in a few days making the SIM card almost free; 60 cents shipping.
Alternatively, you can look for a Nexus 5 compatible SIM card with model number SIMGLW206R from Best Buy, Apple Stores or Sprint Corporate stores. Most of the time the stores will give away the SIM cards for free.
Buy an unlocked Nexus 6 from the Google Play store. Both the 32 gigabyte and 64 gigabyte versions are compatable. The Nexus 6 bought from any other store like Verizon, ATT, Amazon, Best Buy or others will NOT work. You need a pure Google Android OS on a factory default Nexus 6.
Purchase a Nexus 6 nano SIM C3 card from Ting for $10.60 (US). Ting will ship the SIM card by way of FedEX and send you a tracking number. After you activate your phone, Ting will credit you $10 in a few days making the SIM card almost free; 60 cents shipping.
Once both the phone and SIM card have arrived you are ready to activate your Ting service...
If you powered on the phone at any time before the SIM card installation then we suggest doing a "factory reset" of the phone. Make sure to back any data, pictures or music as this step will erase the phone back to factory defaults. Our goal is to start with a clean phone to avoid any issues with carrier logins.
Insert the Micro SIM card into the tray using the small tool which came with the phone or even a very small paper clip. Take note of the SIM install instructions which came with the phone. After the SIM card is installed power ON the phone. You should see the "Welcome" screen again.
You will need the ICC number to register on the Ting website. On the SIM card you will find the ICC ID number which is a 20 digit code. We suggest creating a text file on the computer to put these numbers into. When you register with Ting you can then copy and paste the correct codes into the site.
Power on the phone after installling the SIM card. After the phone powers on you should see at least one cell phone bar light up. Cell service is needed to collect cell carrier id and negociate with the service. We now need to copy down the 14 digit MEID (HEX) number. To collect the MEID number we must skip past the setup screens and get to the phone's home screen. Do not worry, we will reset the phone again in a moment and you can complete the setup options then.
Now that we have the ICC and MEID we suggest doing a "factory reset" of the phone again to get to the main initialization menus when the phone first starts up. This will be the last "factory reset" we will do.
Use a $25 off referral code to create and log in to your new ting account. Of course, we would prefer you using the Calomel Ting referral code so we get credit, but using anyone's referral code you will get you the same $25 off when you activate your phone. Note: if you use a referral URL code for anyone who has not given out a referral before, you will still get $25, but they will get $50 since this is their first referral.
Using the referral URL of your choice, for example Calomel's Ting referral URL, go to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) page. It is imperative you use the referral URL to go to Ting and before you click on the "BYOD" link so get your $25 discount.
At this point you should see on the Ting website that you have completed registration. Now is a good time to power off your phone for a few minutes. Hold down the power button on the top right side of the phone and choose "power off."
In a few moments an automated email from Ting will arrive to the email address you registered with. The email will tell you to power off your phone for a minute or two and power it back on for the cell carrier initialization process to complete. When the phone powers up you will see the Welcome screen
Make sure to save a copy of the Ting email as it contains your new phone number as well as some identifying information about the Nexus and SIM card you may want to reference later.
Power on the phone now. Once the Nexus phone starts, hit the "play" arrow button once. You will see the phone initializing the carrier service. Make sure you have at least one "bar" of cell signal. Activation will take a few minutes depending on cell signal strength. Once activation is completed, you will see the WiFi setup page. Make note of the cell carrier bars at the top right of the screen. You should see at least one bar and perhaps the "LTE" or "3G" label.
You are now on the Ting (sprint) cell network and both voice and data should work. Please take some time to log into your Google account and personalize the phone with local Wifi access and personal setting.
Profile Update: Please note - profile updates will set MMS settings back to defaults and reset Network Mode to Global rather than LTE or 3G. If you have already set these, you will need to reset them.
Preferred Roaming List (PRL) is a database residing in a wireless (primarily CDMA) device which contains information used during the system selection and acquisition process.
If your device does not automatically restart after the PRL update, restart it. Voice, text, 3G and LTE data should now be working. If you have picture messaging enabled on your Ting account, then you'll need to configure it on your phone now, following the steps in the questions section below.
We recommend enabling extra LTE band 26 (800MHz) and band 41 (2500MHz) in addition to the default LTE band 25 (1900MHz). Activating all three LTE bands will give your Nexus 5/6 access to the new Sprint Spark tri-band LTE network as soon as possible. Ting uses the Sprint network, so advancements to Sprint customers are automatically applied to Ting customers. The additional frequencies will also allow the phone greater cell tower flexibility and less radio signal collision. The Nexus 5/6 will then have the ability to use all US registered LTE bands: 1/2/4/5/17/19/25/26/41 .
Tethering refers to connecting one device to another. In the context of the Nexus, tethering allows you to set up a WiFi or Bluetooth mobile hot spot and connect any other device to your phone. You will then be able to use your Ting LTE cell data (megabytes) connection with any connected device.
On the Ting website:
On the Nexus phone:
The basic setup is finished. At this point we recommend going through the Ting site and familiarizing yourself with its setup. Also make sure to download the Ting android mobile app to keep track of your voice, text and data usage.
Finally, take some precautions and setup notifications on your Ting account in case you start using more minutes, texts or megabytes then normal, Check out the "Alerts" link after logging into your Ting account. There is the story of the famous Facebook mobile app which uses almost one hundred (100) megabytes of data per month for random updates and ads without user interaction. When an app abuses your cell data usage you are the one which has to pay the bill.
If you already have Ting service then you are likely using the CDMA network owned by Sprint. In 2015 Ting, allows users with compatable phones to use the GSM network owned by T-Mobile instead. These are the steps we took to move a Nexus 5 from Ting's CMDA service to Ting's GSM service while keeping the same Ting phone number.
First order the Ting GSM Sim X1 card from the Ting web site. Check at the top of this page for a link to the SIM card webpage. Once you receive the sim card, continue to the next step.
Turn the Nexus phone off.
Replace the CDMA Sim card with the new Ting GSM Sim X1 card.
Turn the Nexus phone on.
After 60 seconds or so you should see at least one bar of cell service on the top right of the screen. The cell service name on the top left will say "Ting" even though the GSM network is owned by T-Mobile. The message stating "no service" will persist until we activate the phone on the GSM network through the Ting site.
Log into your Ting account web page and go to the URL, http://ting.com/go to activate your phone. The URL may also be printed on the front of the GSM card the Sim was shipped in.
The Ting site will ask for your ESN/MEID number. We will actually enter the IMEI number and the Ting website will convert the IMEI to the ESN number automatically. To find the IMEI number on your Nexus phone goto:
Dang, got the error: "Device/SIM card can not be activated" on Saturday Jan 31, 2015 at 5:06pm. The Ting announcement says activation of the GSM network will begin in February. Perhaps we are too early. Tomorrow we will try again...According to Ting Support the GSM activation will start in February 2015. We will update this page when we get more information.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a standard way to send messages including multimedia content to and from mobile phones. The most popular use is to send photographs from camera-equipped handsets, although it is also popular as a method of delivering news and entertainment content including videos, pictures, text pages and ring tones.
We suggest keeping MMS messaging disabled and use a service like Google Hangouts, but if you want your account to have MMS functionality here are the steps.
On the the ting website
On the Nexus 5 or Nexus 6 phone: