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iPhone 5S, 5C users on Sprint can now move to budget service Ting

Last year's model iPhones are now supported on Ting's network. The service has no flat-rate plans; you pay for the minutes you use and the data you access.

Apple's iPhone 5S and 5C are now accepted by Ting. Apple

Sprint subscribers who own an iPhone 5S or 5C can now bring their phone to the Ting network. And just why would you want to do that, you may ask, especially if you've never heard of Ting? Well, here's how it works.

Ting is a mobile service that tries to skirt past some of the restrictions of the typical wireless plan. Instead of saddling you with a standard contract with the same basic monthly fee, Ting offers you various rates based on how many minutes you use, messages you send and how much data you access. At the end of each month, you pay only for what you used.

Ting is also an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) partner of Sprint, which means you can bring certain devices from Sprint directly to Ting. Currently Ting supports a variety of Android phones as well as the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5.

But starting September 29, owners of a Sprint iPhone 5S or 5C will be able to switch their phones to, and activate them on, Ting, Andrew Moore-Crispin, Ting senior content manager, said in a blog posted Tuesday.

Those of you with a Sprint-compatible iPhone 5S or 5C with a nano SIM card already inserted will be able to activate your phone automatically. Don't have a SIM card? You'll be able to buy the right one for $9 through Ting beforehand so you can activate your phone come September 29.

If you don't have an iPhone 5S or 5C but are still interested in buying one to use on Ting, you can do that. The company's Ting shop links you to such online retailers as Glyde, eBay and Amazon, where you can pick up a 5S or 5C. Of course, you can also buy a 5S or 5C elsewhere; you'd just need to make sure it's compatible with Sprint's network in order for it to work on Ting.

Ting isn't an Apple reseller, so it can't sell new iPhones. But a Ting staffer commenting on the blog post said that some refurbished units are slated to arrive as soon as possible

Ting offers a full tutorial page on how you can activate your iPhone on its network. The website also provides a list of all compatible phones that can make the move from Sprint to Ting.

In the past, Ting usually has taken about a year before it can support the latest iPhone on its network. So come this time in 2015, the service may be able to handle Apple's new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.