At Karma we love transparency and honesty. Mobile internet costs money, but it seems obvious to us that our customers should know how much, and they should pay less or more based on their actual usage. Ting offers something similar for phone service: you're bumped to different service levels based on how many minutes, messages, and megabytes you use. Use more, pay more; use less, pay less. Sounds smart, right?

Like Karma, Ting is a Sprint MVNO (a reseller, basically), but next year they're adding GSM service through T-Mobile. This is especially good news for people with existing T-Mobile-compatible phones that would like to move over to Ting — Apple's iPhone, for instance, comes in separate flavors for CDMA (Sprint) and GSM (T-Mobile). A few years from now that distinction may disappear altogether, but in the meantime it makes Ting a possibility for a much larger pool of users who want to bring their phone with them.

Ting is also going to experiment with fixed line internet next year: they bought a local ISP in Charlottesville Virginia, and will be putting their own special user-friendly, open internet-friendly spin on fiber optic service. As they put it: "We both believe in a hands-off approach to the Internet at large and a hands-on approach to customer service." They say having fixed access internet service is an opportunity to "practice what we preach" about how the internet should be operated.

Nice guys don't always finish last, and Ting is perfect proof of that.

About Paul Miller

That guy who left the internet for a year