Sprint MVNO Ting, the virtual service provider known for its usage-based pricing and service plans that favor multiple lines of service for both families and businesses has confirmed that it will launch BYOD services for customers with Sprint-branded devices, making the service more attractive for those that want to jump on the virtual operator, but are apprehensive about doing so due to the cost of buying new devices, as the lowest price for a smart device is $145 while the Kyocera Brio feature phone is $70.
While the capability to bring your own device is a step in the right direction for Ting and Sprint as a whole, the initial offering will not launch until the 4th quarter and will feature key exceptions, such as no iPhone, no BlackBerry, no IDEN/PTT and no Virgin Mobile/Boost Mobile devices, with the first phase being a part of a larger rollout of BYOD service. For Sprint to allow such a service on an independent MVNO is rather novel, as it has been one of the most requested services for Boost and Virgin Mobile customers, with those more savvy customers using various backdoor methods available to get select Sprint phones onto Boost and Virgin Mobile respectively.
Oddly enough, the reverse is true of Ting devices, as those devices can be taken to Sprint and activated as normal once purchased, owing to their origins as Sprint devices using the same MEID block and is an interesting note contained in the announcement, as MVNOs are typically allocated their own device ID blocks in order to prevent activation on parent networks in order to take advantage of any subsidies offered by the virtual operator in order to draw customers onto the service. Ting’s take on the development is below:
Any device purchased from Ting can also be BYOD’d to Sprint. It’s always been this way.
Strangely, we’re happy about this too. There are people who have been reluctant to try Ting because while we don’t (nor will we ever) lock devices, there’s a perception that a Ting device can only be used on Ting. This BYOD development makes the leap of faith more of a hop and people are more likely to give us a chance when Sprint is there as a fall-back plan. We’re sure that once mobile users get a taste of “mobile that makes sense,” they’ll have no desire to leave. That said, it’s the safety net that some people need.
More specific details regarding a device whitelist and future updates on BYOD will be offered in the future, while Ting is also hosting a poll on the demand for BYOD.