Pre-paid smartphone plans that do not suck, part 1

Forgoing a contract does not always mean wonky phones and throttled data. Far from it, in fact.

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The main catch is that Ting is centered around the Sprint data network, which is not the most widespread of the big four carriers, at least in terms of faster 4G/LTE capacity. You can roam on voice calls through MetroPCS and Verizon, but for data, you're reliant on Sprint. And you can't just bring any old Sprint-capable phone to Ting, as they make a few modifications to them. A bring-your-own-device plan was announced in August, and Ting now supports bringing a Galaxy Nexus S to their plans, and that's a humble start. On the flip side, really nice, new phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 are available for non-subsidized purchase.

You can see exactly how much you'd save over a two-year period with Ting's cost calculator, and see what your coverage looks like. If Ting's phones and service work for you, though, it could be a slick and easy way to jump into the pre-paid market.

Read more of Kevin Purdy's Mobilize! blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @kevinpurdy. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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