Author Topic: heads up, ptel is ending their service  (Read 27623 times)

headachemustache

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #100 on: January 30, 2016, 07:24:24 AM »
I just got mine yesterday, but had to pick them up at the post office since the priority mail envelope required a signature (?!) and I missed delivery.  That was 4 business days since ordering ... it does seem that weather has caused some delays this past week.

Paul der Krake

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #101 on: January 30, 2016, 07:32:04 AM »
I just got mine yesterday, but had to pick them up at the post office since the priority mail envelope required a signature (?!) and I missed delivery.  That was 4 business days since ordering ... it does seem that weather has caused some delays this past week.
Yup. Got my airvoice SIM and ported out only yesterday, a full 7 days after the ebay seller shipped it. Everything out of the North East has been heavily delayed this week. Another reason to spend the $1 a insurance to have a replacement lined up and at home before any talk of a shutdown.

headachemustache

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #102 on: January 30, 2016, 07:35:43 AM »
Another reason to spend the $1 a insurance to have a replacement lined up and at home before any talk of a shutdown.
Yes, smart!

partgypsy

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #103 on: February 01, 2016, 11:52:54 AM »
Got my sim cards this Sat (from Ting) installed on Sunday, no problems. And they say they will honor the $75 credit from Ptel. Glad that my daughter (and I) have a working phone again. Because of the way Ting is structured, I will have access to voice, text as well as data, but will try to use data emergency or home (wifi) use only.

headachemustache

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #104 on: February 02, 2016, 04:36:33 PM »
Two days up and running with Ting and I'm appreciative of the $75 credit while I try it out.  However, just checked my usage, and I'm now realizing (doh!) that I hadn't quite understood that I'd be charged $3 EACH for the "S" allotment of talk, text, data - that is, $9/month usage + $6 per device = $15+/month.
Not sure why I had it in my head that the monthly min. would be $9 ($6 for device + $3 "S" usage) ... their website has a table showing the rates, and I didn't look at it closely enough to get the full picture. 
(I'm missing PTel in that my average was <$5 a month.  Sniff!)

robartsd

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #105 on: February 02, 2016, 05:20:07 PM »
Two days up and running with Ting and I'm appreciative of the $75 credit while I try it out.  However, just checked my usage, and I'm now realizing (doh!) that I hadn't quite understood that I'd be charged $3 EACH for the "S" allotment of talk, text, data - that is, $9/month usage + $6 per device = $15+/month.
Not sure why I had it in my head that the monthly min. would be $9 ($6 for device + $3 "S" usage) ... their website has a table showing the rates, and I didn't look at it closely enough to get the full picture. 
(I'm missing PTel in that my average was <$5 a month.  Sniff!)
PTel's payGo was great for light users. It's especially hard to find text rates below $0.05/text.

Where Ting shines best is multiple light to moderate users on a single account because they share a single bucket of each type of usage across all the lines.

dramaman

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #106 on: February 02, 2016, 05:54:20 PM »
Two days up and running with Ting and I'm appreciative of the $75 credit while I try it out.  However, just checked my usage, and I'm now realizing (doh!) that I hadn't quite understood that I'd be charged $3 EACH for the "S" allotment of talk, text, data - that is, $9/month usage + $6 per device = $15+/month.
Not sure why I had it in my head that the monthly min. would be $9 ($6 for device + $3 "S" usage) ... their website has a table showing the rates, and I didn't look at it closely enough to get the full picture. 
(I'm missing PTel in that my average was <$5 a month.  Sniff!)

I thought the rate information on Ting's website was not straightforward and took some study to understand exactly how they calculated charges. Once I did, I decided the $75 credit wasn't worth it if I'd have to change again in less than a year and decided to go straight to H2O, which depending upon usage could only amount to $10 every 90 days.

dramaman

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #107 on: February 02, 2016, 06:13:13 PM »
Two days up and running with Ting and I'm appreciative of the $75 credit while I try it out.  However, just checked my usage, and I'm now realizing (doh!) that I hadn't quite understood that I'd be charged $3 EACH for the "S" allotment of talk, text, data - that is, $9/month usage + $6 per device = $15+/month.
Not sure why I had it in my head that the monthly min. would be $9 ($6 for device + $3 "S" usage) ... their website has a table showing the rates, and I didn't look at it closely enough to get the full picture. 
(I'm missing PTel in that my average was <$5 a month.  Sniff!)
PTel's payGo was great for light users. It's especially hard to find text rates below $0.05/text.

Where Ting shines best is multiple light to moderate users on a single account because they share a single bucket of each type of usage across all the lines.

Maybe for multiple moderate users, but for multiple light users, Ting may still not be the way to go. Keep in mind Ting charges EACH attached phone $6 per month even if they don't use their phone at all (not absolutely sure about that, but I presume the $6 is based merely on having a registered Ting sim). Then whatever combined minutes and texts they use get an additional charge. Being included in the group account would make no sense for the user if their individual usage amounted to less than $6 per month in charges with another service. For instance if they use less than 65 combined minutes/text per month, it would be cheaper for them to go with H2O where they can get 200 minutes/text that lasts 90 days for just $10, which comes to around $3.33 per month. If they used less than 30 minutes/text per month, then T-Mobiles $3/month plan would be cheaper.

At least that is my understanding of how it works. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.


My understanding is that Ting charges $6 for each multiple user per month, regardless of whether they use any voice or text or data. With H2O pay as you go, you can get 200 minutes/texts for $10 for 90 days. Ting would charge the same user $18 for those same 90 days as well as whatever minutes and texts that user contributed to the account's total.

livingthedream

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #108 on: February 05, 2016, 04:52:44 PM »
I switched to Ting for now but will switch to H20 as soon as the $75 credit runs out. Got my 1 cent shipped H20 SIM card from Amazon (how do they do that?) ready to go. Like some of the others here I was paying only $5 a month on Ptel by using Google voice and Wifi.

Senor Smallchange Soulpatch

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #109 on: February 07, 2016, 09:58:02 AM »
FYI for everyone... if you have still have some money on a Ptel paygo account and didn't port your number out, your sim may still be working.

I never bothered porting my Ptel number because my "main" number is attached to Google Voice, so I figured I'd ride out Ptel until the bitter end then activate my new Ting sim with a new number and reconfigure Google Voice to forward to that number.  As of right now my Ptel sim is still working fine for both text and data and my Ting sim is still in the package.

NathanP

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #110 on: February 08, 2016, 10:23:45 AM »
FYI for everyone... if you have still have some money on a Ptel paygo account and didn't port your number out, your sim may still be working.

I never bothered porting my Ptel number because my "main" number is attached to Google Voice, so I figured I'd ride out Ptel until the bitter end then activate my new Ting sim with a new number and reconfigure Google Voice to forward to that number.  As of right now my Ptel sim is still working fine for both text and data and my Ting sim is still in the package.

Everyone Android users should all port their main "don't want to lose it" number to Google Voice. There are some nice benefits including the ability to forward calls to multiple phones (home, mobile, work), cheap international calling rates, and the full VOIP phone call option when on wifi. In android, the integration is seamless and people you call will see your main number in their caller id (not your phone's sim card's number).

The secondary (but more important?) benefit is the ability to switch carriers at any time. You simply allow your pre-paid credits to expire and activate your new phone service. A quick update to Google Voice will replace your old sim card number with your new number and voila, you are in business. No more waiting to port a number from carrier A to B. Ptel goes broke? No problem. Activate your new sim at your convenience knowing that your number is safe.

headachemustache

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #111 on: February 08, 2016, 11:03:04 AM »
Everyone Android users should all port their main "don't want to lose it" number to Google Voice. There are some nice benefits including the ability to forward calls to multiple phones (home, mobile, work), cheap international calling rates, and the full VOIP phone call option when on wifi. In android, the integration is seamless and people you call will see your main number in their caller id (not your phone's sim card's number).

The secondary (but more important?) benefit is the ability to switch carriers at any time. You simply allow your pre-paid credits to expire and activate your new phone service. A quick update to Google Voice will replace your old sim card number with your new number and voila, you are in business. No more waiting to port a number from carrier A to B. Ptel goes broke? No problem. Activate your new sim at your convenience knowing that your number is safe.

Thanks for this useful information.  Guessing this is only for Android users ... too bad for the rest of us!

Daley

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #112 on: February 08, 2016, 09:06:42 PM »
Everyone Android users should all port their main "don't want to lose it" number to Google Voice.

As a long time user of Google Voice going back to the Grand Central days, and knowing how quickly Google just drops support for even popular services when they clean house with projects, I can say with reasonable authority that this is a really bad idea. Google Voice simply isn't reliable enough, especially for people who depend on reliable communications (such as for work), and without proper support or shutdown notices from Google if they ever decide to abandon the service...

...this just isn't a suggestion that improves the situation it's trying to "fix".

robartsd

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #113 on: February 09, 2016, 11:13:39 AM »
My wife's line got ported to MetroPCS safely - eventually got her dual SIM, unlocked, 3G, Android phone working on MetroPCS too. We probably waited a little longer than we should have thinking it would be easy to drop in to a store and pick up a SIM and port. The first trip to port her number (Mon 1 Feb) the "Authorized Dealer" rep thought the SIM was not recongized. They suggested we go to the corporate store, which we thought we did, but later learned that the corporate store was in the shopping center on the opposite side of the intersection from the second "Authorized Dealer" we visited. After going home in defeat, we started quickly looking for a place to pick up an EasyGo SIM. On Tuesday, we realized that the reps who were trying the SIM card were probably being thrown off by the warning that comes up every time the phone starts up with one of the two SIM card slots empty. Armed with with this idea, on Thursday my wife went to the closest dealer, bought a SIM and porter her number. Her phone got droped from the network about 2 hours later. On Saturday we visited the second "Authorized Dealer" and the rep suggested we go to the corporate store (we thought we were at one) after checking the settings on the phone and saying they looked fine (they were). Longish line at the corporate store (15-20 minute wait), but the rep knew what she was doing. She said that the SIM looked rather old and could be the problem, also noted that the "Authorized Dealer" setting up the phone may have used the wrong IMEI, she replaced the SIM and updated their records and the phone has been working fine on the 3G network since. Lesson learned: don't go to "Authorized Dealers" for help with your cell phone.

Senor Smallchange Soulpatch

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #114 on: February 09, 2016, 03:33:26 PM »
Everyone Android users should all port their main "don't want to lose it" number to Google Voice.

As a long time user of Google Voice going back to the Grand Central days, and knowing how quickly Google just drops support for even popular services when they clean house with projects, I can say with reasonable authority that this is a really bad idea. Google Voice simply isn't reliable enough, especially for people who depend on reliable communications (such as for work), and without proper support or shutdown notices from Google if they ever decide to abandon the service...

...this just isn't a suggestion that improves the situation it's trying to "fix".

Meh... I have to disagree somewhat.  We just witnessed Ptel pulling the plug with like a week's notice.  And while it's certainly true that Google has a tendency to shut down services for seemingly arbitrary reasons, I can't think of a single time when they've given users a shorter window to transition then Ptel just did (although as of right now my supposed-to-be-deactivated Ptel sim is still fully functional).

I would say that if constant communication and a stable phone number is really mission critical for one's job, they should just suck it up, pay one of the majors and consider it a cost of doing business.  IMO playing the low budget MVNO game in that situation is crossing over from frugal to cheap.

Pebs

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #115 on: February 09, 2016, 07:45:57 PM »
I'm really hoping someone can help me.  I just bought a phone through PTEL in December for my daughter.  She had about one month of service with them before they closed their doors.  I searched all over locally to find a SIM card for one of the other inexpensive MVNOs and found one for PureTalk.  We weren't worried about keeping the same phone number so that is not an issue.

The PureTalk SIM card is installed and we signed up for a plan on the PureTalk website. It's been several days and the phone still has no service.  I admit to not really knowing what I am doing!  Tried contacting PureTalk for help but they essentially say that the problem is not on their end and I should buy a new phone. 

It looks like the phone may still be locked with PTEL??  When it is turned on, it is asking for the following:  SIM network unlock PIN

I thought the "0000" that was on the PTEL homepage should work but it doesn't.

Can anyone provide guidance?  Do I really have to toss this brand new phone and start over?  It is a SAMSUNG T699 GALAXY RELAY 4G GSM.


Daley

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #116 on: February 09, 2016, 11:21:33 PM »
I would say that if constant communication and a stable phone number is really mission critical for one's job, they should just suck it up, pay one of the majors and consider it a cost of doing business.  IMO playing the low budget MVNO game in that situation is crossing over from frugal to cheap.

For the record, twelve days from dealer notice and ten days from public notice until last official day, with 16 days from public notice to port out your number successfully is not "like a week's notice." That's a good half month to safely get your number out.

That's also one of the ugly things about the P'tel shutdown, they weren't just any old fly-by-night MVNO, they had been around for FIFTEEN YEARS. Like the other providers in the guide, I had chose long-term, reliable, viable providers so you could get frugal and reliable service for more critical communications needs without veering into the cheap and dicey category. It was an approach that bypassed the usual cut-rate, high risk el cheapo, MVNO game. It's the entire point of the carefully selected and recommended providers in the guide.

The problem is that the major carriers are now screwing over their wholesale providers to pull people back in under higher cost and higher margin plans, and they appear to be doing abrupt account shutdowns to make the companies look bad. It didn't used to be this way. Yes, MVNOs fold all the time, but not MVNOs like P'tel or Airvoice. These are companies who had survived and outlasted several waves of competition and countless other brands over the past decade and a half. They had been a safe bet both as a frugal and reliable choice.

As much as the long term viability is now less certain on these older MVNOs, if something happens, there's still going to be a proper shutdown with them, with support and notice like P'tel had. One, Google simply doesn't do that sort of thing with their quick axe money losers, which GV could easily become even at this point - it's more of a, "Hope you read Slashdot or the Google dev blogs regularly, 'cause you're probably not gonna hear otherwise before the service stops working, and I hope you have backups of your data." Two, the remaining MVNOs in the guide will still dance rings around Google Voice reliability on voice and call quality, uptime, and SMS delivery.

It sucks, but it's still no less true.



Can anyone provide guidance?  Do I really have to toss this brand new phone and start over?  It is a SAMSUNG T699 GALAXY RELAY 4G GSM.

The device sounds like it is carrier locked to T-Mobile. The time to have gotten the unlock code from P'tel would have been before the 6th.

The phone should still work with Ting GSM, Ultra Mobile, and other T-Mobile MVNOs while carrier locked, and you might be able to get one of them to unlock it for you down the road if you explain the situation, but if you're looking to migrate to an AT&T MVNO as you have, you'll either need to pay a ridiculous amount of money to get the phone carrier unlocked from an independent dealer, or get another phone at this point. Don't know what else to say.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2016, 11:24:32 PM by I.P. Daley »

Pebs

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #117 on: February 10, 2016, 05:49:28 AM »
The device sounds like it is carrier locked to T-Mobile. The time to have gotten the unlock code from P'tel would have been before the 6th.

The phone should still work with Ting GSM.

Thank you!  This is great news, actually, because Ting was my preferred service to switch to but could only find PureTalk SIM cards locally. I'll just eat the cost of the PureTalk SIM and order a new Ting SIM online. Much less $ lost than having to buy a new phone.  Yeah, I know we delayed too long but I naively thought the only rush was to keep the same phone number.

Senor Smallchange Soulpatch

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #118 on: February 10, 2016, 07:56:35 AM »
I would say that if constant communication and a stable phone number is really mission critical for one's job, they should just suck it up, pay one of the majors and consider it a cost of doing business.  IMO playing the low budget MVNO game in that situation is crossing over from frugal to cheap.

For the record, twelve days from dealer notice and ten days from public notice until last official day, with 16 days from public notice to port out your number successfully is not "like a week's notice." That's a good half month to safely get your number out.

That's also one of the ugly things about the P'tel shutdown, they weren't just any old fly-by-night MVNO, they had been around for FIFTEEN YEARS. Like the other providers in the guide, I had chose long-term, reliable, viable providers so you could get frugal and reliable service for more critical communications needs without veering into the cheap and dicey category. It was an approach that bypassed the usual cut-rate, high risk el cheapo, MVNO game. It's the entire point of the carefully selected and recommended providers in the guide.

The problem is that the major carriers are now screwing over their wholesale providers to pull people back in under higher cost and higher margin plans, and they appear to be doing abrupt account shutdowns to make the companies look bad. It didn't used to be this way. Yes, MVNOs fold all the time, but not MVNOs like P'tel or Airvoice. These are companies who had survived and outlasted several waves of competition and countless other brands over the past decade and a half. They had been a safe bet both as a frugal and reliable choice.

As much as the long term viability is now less certain on these older MVNOs, if something happens, there's still going to be a proper shutdown with them, with support and notice like P'tel had. One, Google simply doesn't do that sort of thing with their quick axe money losers, which GV could easily become even at this point - it's more of a, "Hope you read Slashdot or the Google dev blogs regularly, 'cause you're probably not gonna hear otherwise before the service stops working, and I hope you have backups of your data." Two, the remaining MVNOs in the guide will still dance rings around Google Voice reliability on voice and call quality, uptime, and SMS delivery.

It sucks, but it's still no less true.


My wife and I both got the shutdown text messages from Ptel on 1/22, and that message recommended port-outs be completed by 1/26, so from my view they gave us 4 days.  Prior to that I hadn't personally heard a thing.  Yes, they later revised that date and gave us more time, but there were some tense moments in my house that weekend while we scrambled looking for a suitable place to port my wife's number, which she's had for 15+ years and is very attached to.

I would never recommend GV as any type of blanket "solution" for all users, probably not even a majority of users.  I never put my wife's number on GV for the simple reason that she's not all that tech-savvy, so inserting another middleman in her communications routine would almost certainly result in a household tech support headache for me and I simply don't want to deal with that.

I just don't think it's fair to dismiss the idea of porting a number to GV out of hand.  I've personally saved a pile of money over the last 3 years by using their wifi-enabled features, as well as by sending/receiving texts at data rates instead of per message rates when I'm not in wifi coverage.  Having my voicemails transcribed is awesome, being able to send/receive texts from any of my computers is handy, forwarding my personal calls to my desk phone at work (which is apparently inside an impenetrable Faraday cage across which no T-Mobile signal shall pass) is convenient, etc.  The fact that I've been able to switch between 3 different MVNO's without worrying about porting a number is gravy.  The whole thing could go poof tomorrow and I'd still consider the experiment to have been worth it.

That said, I am the guy who's keeping up with the tech blogs/Slashdot/Reddit/whatever, and at the end of the day I'm not going to lose much sleep if my long-time phone number is lost for some reason.  So anyone reading this should keep that in mind if they're considering going the GV route.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: heads up, ptel is ending their service
« Reply #119 on: February 10, 2016, 06:05:14 PM »
Ok, maybe we should all spend more money for the greater good.

Well, I'm selfish. I just want the cheapest least-hassle phone service I can get. So I have:

Verizon Unlimited Data plan - costs about as much as DSL does, plus I can easily suspend when I'm away (lot of travel, so I'd have to either keep paying for DSL, or pay lots of reconnect fees). Plus I can use it on the go.

Google Voice for myself, my wife, and my mom.

Tracfone service for all three as well.

We've had our Google Voice numbers for almost five years now (had service since GrandCentral days, but I changed my number about five years ago). Only one time was any part of it "shut down". End of October 2013 it was announced that in May 2014 Google would stop allowing third parties to access their service. You could still use the service as originally designed (have calls/texts forwarded to a regular number, use their website to make/receive calls and texts). So I did have to change some things (we were relying on that third party support), but even with a new baby I didn't feel rushed. Yes, Google drops support for things all the time, but there has always been a LOT of advance notice. They have a decent track record as far as that goes.

With Google Voice, it doesn't matter what the underlying service is. As long as I have data, or a number for calls to be forwarded to, it will work. I've changed from Tracfone to Net10 to AT&T to T-Mobile to PagePlus...and I'm not counting the dozen or so times I've activated new Tracfone service due to some promotion. In fact I'm about to do it again, found a phone with 800 minutes that's good for a year for under $40 (once I activate, pay for a $1 BYOP sim, and transfer to an Android phone I'll end up with 800 minutes 800 texts and 800MB data for under $40). That's all we need for calls and texts (we'll use hardly any). One of us may need more data, $15 for an extra 750MB might do us for the year, $30 for 2GB should be plenty. That's $40-$70 for a year of service, or $3.33-$5.83 per month. Even if you don't game the system like that, you can keep it under $7/mo if you don't need much data.

Yes, Tracfone customer service leaves much to be desired. The only times I've had issues was when I was trying to transfer airtime from one phone to another (and even then, there's a US number you can call that seems much more competent, it's a well-known secret). It's been mentioned that porting numbers in/out of Tracfone related services can be problematic. Well, I don't ever use the underlying mobile number (just use Google Voice), so I'm never porting a number in or out. I've never had to call for any reason other than activating or transferring airtime.

No, it's not for everyone. If you want to pay more for better customer service, go ahead. If you want to pay more to support the underdogs (so AT&T can buy them out), feel free. If you're willing to risk a bad customer support experience in order to save some cash, that's fine too.

I'll say this. I'm glad I wasn't (solely) with PTel. I'm currently in Australia, and I'd have to deal with getting three different people's numbers switched over. And it'd all be done remotely, with my mom, over the phone. Yes, I'd do as much online as I could, but the sims would go to her address, she'd need to get the numbers to me, I'd have to tell how how to put it in her phone and possibly setup the APN, etc. Could take a mere 15 minutes, could take hours. As it is, our numbers are safe with Google Voice, and my mom's Tracfone service is working fine.