Last week I left Ting and fired up another Mint

This is a story about hopping from one provider to another on one phone, and one phone to another. There’s nothing particularly noteworthy but might be some useful information if you’re repurposing an old phone for a kid or contemplating transferring service.

Why I left Ting (which I really dug) – it’s not you, it’s me

To preface this, Ting was nothing but great for what I initially needed it for. An ultra-emergency phone number that could be used by one of my kiddos in the event of yet another school incident. Yeah, any phone can call 911 but as has been proven twice in the past decade with my friends, both Dominoes and I respond faster, and usually with pizza.

Ting was great, at $6 a month ($7.91 after everything) for no data/phone use, but with the ability to call in an emergency, I kept it going and in one of my kid’s phones, but a couple of months that rate crept up because spammers would call, kid would accidentally answer, and next thing you know you’re suddenly using minutes. and that was another charge. Or somehow data would get used, even though it was supposed to be in airplane mode, and that was another. I blame the kid.

With the inability to just turn off the phone’s ringing and notifying that there was a call, I was occasionally paying close to $13 for a line I absolutely did not need except in the event of yet another school incident. Decided I wasn’t going to get on kiddo about accidentally answering and moved off. I’ve loved Ting but they did not fit with a kid who might answer accidentally, and in one case leave it on for 13 minutes because she didn’t hear anyone and the phone app went to the background.

Mint on an old old phone

My oldest has a Mint plan and I thought that it might work well for the youngest. $15 a month, 5gb data cap that just goes to slower data if exceeded. The whole reason behind these is when the school lockdowns come the kids are trapped with no idea what’s happening and they are never told. Well, that and also there are times with after school activities and extracurricular activities where pickup locations get moved or I get asked if it’s ok to move times, etc.

The youngest, who is now engaged in some activities that require timed pickups and such occasionally needs the ability to call me, and unfortunately with MNPS you’ve got a Wi-Fi situation that’s … well… it’s not something you can put a tablet on for your kiddo to skype you. Meh, I’ve got old phones and this was the one Ting was in.

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Went through the app, and was given that I needed to go in and set APN manually. This had not been required on my eldest’s Galaxy 9, but this was my old Galaxy Note 8.

I went, created a new APN profile, saved it, and it disappeared. Did this again and Ting’s T-Mobile was still there and then it disappeared. No matter what I did the old T-Mobile profile was there and it survived reboot after reboot. Huh.

After about the third time through, which took some time, I ended up doing a reset on the wifi and network connections and that cleared the T-Mobile APN profile out and either Mint came up, or my profile that kept disappearing did. It came up with the wrong MNC if I remember correctly, so it was probably placed in correctly.

Old Note8 managed to get nearly 80mbit on LTE, which is as good as it is going to get (Mint supports 5G, the ancient device I have does not). I went through 200 MB of the 250 trial data on either speedtest.net or Google’s speed test.

The swap

The kids have been home since December 15th I think. Oh, they had 3.5 days of school, but then there was a holiday, and Snowmageddon. During this time my oldest lost her phone and family link reported it as unknown location and dead.

The youngest claimed she saw the phone in my bedroom on a couch but that it had disappeared. This was most likely a hallucination or her seeing some other phone because I put phones on chargers… if it was sitting, it wasn’t me. Not holding the phone? It’s on the desk on a charger.

The 10yo had been keeping in touch with friends and event planners with a laptop, but she was going to go back to school and really, just the sheer crap that has gone on there I do not feel comfortable any more without her having the ability to call me for pickup.

At phone lost for nearly a month and no signs of it I decided to fire up yet another of my old phones. This one would support eSIM and hey, so did Mint mobile.

Installed the app, discovered I could not locate on the Google Keyboard one of the characters of the password. Yeah that was a fun dive trying to find out how to produce a ^ on the Google keyboard and failing. I finally ended up emailing the password and copy and pasting it. I’ve been using Google Keyboard for years now, never had a need to produce that until Google strong password suggestion included that and another character I couldn’t ever locate.

Whoo hoo! Password entered, it just had to verify who I am by texting a one time use code to my child’s lost phone… which was lost… and could not receive texts. Womp womp.

I did the horrible thing of making a phone call to support and they asked if I could verify some of the phone numbers called… well no.. no I can not. There’s only one phone number that has been called that I know and that is mine. Nope.

So they opened a ticket and told me that I’d have a code in my email when it was looked at that would allow me to activate a new eSIM.

3ish hours later there’s a QR code in my email which I scanned and bam, service!

Yay… kid gets phone, makes some calls/texts to people she didn’t have their contact info, and fun snow day ensues.

Original phone was then located yesterday, roughly 5 weeks from being lost. Now kid wants to switch from a premium phone to a clunky old S9 because she likes it better… womp womp.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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