Mobile virtual network operator Ting has officially announced that it will be providing both GSM and CDMA service to its subscribers beginning 2015. As of now, Ting uses Sprint's CDMA countrywide network, but the wireless service provider is planning to partner with a major GSM carrier in order to provide coverage for SIM card carrying smartphones previously not compatible for use with Ting's plans.
Ting has not specified yet which carrier it will be partnering with, but based on its forecasted GSM coverage map, there is a good possibility that the service will be provided using T-Mobile's network.
The new GSM service is expected to launch in the month of February next year. Most likely, the service will continue to be provided alongside Ting's current CDMA service (via Sprint's network).
How will this impact customers? Well, for one thing, customers will be able to bring their own unlocked GSM-compatible handsets to Ting and then sign up for a SIM-only monthly plan.
According to Ting, being able to provide a wider range of handsets for its customers was a big factor that influenced its decision to include GSM in its services. This would allow customers of the MVNO to purchase virtually any existing GSM-compatible device network unlocked and bring it to a Ting plan.
Moreover, customers can activate a compatible smartphone on both GSM and CDMA service at the same time -- although users will have to change SIMs in order to switch between the two services. In this case, users will need to have two separate phone numbers and pay two sets of device fees in order to activate their device on the two networks.
If customers have multiple handsets or lines of service on the one account, they can continue to make use of both GSM and CDMA phones under the one plan, and then get to share from just one pool of call minutes, texts, and data. This means that customers will no longer need to get both a GSM plan and a CDMA plan for their handsets.
In some ways, this is a first among MVNOs. It is true that other MVNOs offer their customers a choice between GSM and CDMA (Red Pocket Mobile, for instance). But Ting appears to be the first MVNO to provide a combined GSM and CDMA service under a single plan. For now, Ting is busy finalizing the details for its upcoming February launch next year.
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