Everyone wants out of their cell phone service contract at one point or another. Whether it’s subpar service, a new phone exclusive to a particular carrier, or maybe you’re finally ready to go month-to-month. It’s bound to happen eventually. Those who want out bad enough are willing to pay up to $350 in early termination fees to see this happen. Others, perhaps yourself included, are satisfied with waiting out the horrible ride due to an unwillingness to pay such an outrageous fee (it’s not really outrageous, you’re just fulling paying for the phone you subsidized with your contract).

In order to help those who’ve had enough of their contracted service, a new prepaid provider called Ting has offered to play hero throughout the month of February. Starting next month, the company will be offering $100,000 worth of pay offs to frustrated consumers if they choose Ting as their next service provider. Now, that’s not going to cover very many $350 fees. In fact, less than 300 people out there will be lucky enough to have their new accounts credited for the switch. However, it’s given Ting quite a bit of publicity and looking at what they offer in terms of service customization, they’re sure to gain momentum as a top prepaid solution in the years to come.

So, Why Ting?

Looking at new plans for cell phone service, there’s not much room for personalization. With the big four carriers, you get a few plans to choose from, but you’re going to pay for the major services, such as minutes, texts, and data, even if you don’t need one or more. In this smartphone-driven world, many people rely on their phones more for texting and data than actually talking. Despite this, there’s no option in major cell phone contracts to negotiate a reasonable price for a low amount of minutes. For instance, when buying a new smartphone plan from AT&T, the lowest amount of offered minutes is 450 for $40 a month. And that’s required to purchase with the service.

Ting Custom Cell Service

That’s a prime example of why Ting is a breath of fresh air for cell phone service. They offer “pay for what you use” billing that allows for customization and reasonable rates for low amounts of service. So if you find yourself a heavy data user, but not a heavy talker, you can lower your minutes, up your data, and still save money compared to major carriers. On top of the customization, Ting allows for cheap plan sharing. Each device on a plan is only $6 per month to stay active. A nice touch for those looking to add family or a backup phone to their plan.

There’s Always a Catch

Now that you’re all excited for your future with Ting, it’s time to learn the downside of a prepaid service provider: no phones. Well, there are phones, just not very many available for use with their service. You see, Ting operates on Sprint’s CDMA network. Unlike GSM networks (AT&T, T-Mobile) that use SIM cards for service, a CDMA phone’s service is locked to the phone itself.

Because of this, Ting can only offer service to phones compatible with Sprint’s network, locking out millions of users who may have unlocked phones or phones from other carriers. On top of that, their list of supported Sprint devices is very small. So to use Ting, you’ll have to buy a phone from them or buy one of the supported Sprint phones from a third party.

Unfortunately, those happy with their current phones may be locked out of enjoying Ting’s usage-based billing due to network restrictions. For those on the hunt for a new phone and service provider, however, Ting appears to one of the best prepaid options on the market.