Ting is a cellular provider that uses the Sprint Network (and Verizon as a backup for voice roaming).
Their model is interesting. Rather than paying a set monthly fee, you pay for only what you use. They separate data, texting, and voice usage into three categories and bill for each at the end of the month according to actual usage. Family plans are easy too. You just add another device to your account. Then you automatically share the minutes/texts/data.
When I was on Sprint, I had three phones on a family plan. We spent about $190 per month for unlimited everything. After analyzing my data/text/voice usage, I realized we could reduce our current bills from about $55 per phone down to about $20 per phone. And that is without any behavior changes.
Now here is the wonderful part, most people lean toward one type of usage. Either you text a lot, you use lots of data, or you talk a lot. I use data, but almost no minutes. My wife uses more minutes. Since we can get around data usage by generally connecting to wifi, we can save a lot there.
Our current Sprint contract was finished, and Ting does not require an unlock or anything. Basically, you sign up, and when the number is ported, you run a profile update command on your phone (Dialing ##72786#). Then everything just works, just like on Sprint.
Finally, Ting offers a great program for saving money. When a friend clicks your link and signs up, you both get $25 off your bill. If you would like to get a $25 dollar credit for your first month of Ting, click the link below. I’ll get a credit and so will you. We all come out ahead in this equation!