Reconciling crazy fast Internet and mobile that makes sense

Since we launched our gigabit Internet service, some folks have understandably questioned what seems to be a contradiction between our mobile offering and our Internet offering.

On mobile, we save our customers hundreds of dollars a year by allowing them to pay just for what they use. We implore people to consider whether they are overpaying for a bloated or unlimited plan and preach monitoring and managing data usage to reduce costs.

On Internet, we are leapfrogging almost every other available, reasonably affordable Internet service in the country and offering one fixed price on unlimited data at an unparalleled speed.

What gives?

Well, first, we never thought of Ting as the “pay for what you use” company. We think of ourselves as providing services that make sense. We offer what we believe is sorely lacking in a market. We look for situations where people are in some way underserved by the incumbents. Maybe they are underserved because there is a lack of competition. Maybe it’s because there isn’t enough money to be made for larger companies. Maybe it’s because everybody has been solving a problem one way for so long that they had stopped considering others.

In mobile, the problem we saw was that too many people were just paying too much for service. Carriers had fixed costs and wanted to pile as much revenue as they could on existing networks so they pushed everyone to unnecessarily large amounts of usage at unnecessary prices. That was great for some people who didn’t want to have to think about usage and were happy to pay the price. Others just needed their smartphones to communicate and solve problems between work and home. Those people shouldn’t have had to pay $60, $80 or $100 a month for such a basic need. It didn’t make sense. So we offered a seemingly obvious, yet surprisingly unique plan that allowed people who use less to spend less. Makes sense.

I think that if we had launched Ting as just a cool, little company with an unlimited plan similar to what was already out there, we wouldn’t have had much reason to exist and we wouldn’t have pushed the industry in a positive direction.

On fixed Internet for homes and small businesses, the problem we see is that existing networks are inadequate for the amazing things people can do online now and the speed at which people want to do them. These existing networks were never meant to stream video, upload and download huge files to the cloud or host meetings. But the incumbents are generating so much revenue on those existing networks and face so little competition, there really is no incentive for them to invest in anything new. Instead they promote marginally better prices on the same old speeds and put neat names like Pro Plus and Quantum on marginally faster speeds. They also lock people into their Internet service by bundling it with TV service. That’s great for some people who use the Internet mostly to browse and email and who just can’t rethink how they buy TV. Others want and need the Internet to do so much more. They want it to provide entertainment, communication, storage, security and education. They want to be productive and competitive. (Interestingly, once you have that that remarkable speed coming into your home or business, you end up being able to buy and manage services like TV, phone and alarm systems sort of like Ting mobile, getting just what you need at great prices.) So we offer a speed that will allow people to use the Internet to its fullest potential now and for many years in the future. Makes sense.

I think that if we jumped into Internet service with a similar speed to what is available at even a slightly lower price, we just wouldn’t have much reason to exist. We wouldn’t be making a profound contribution. Prices will inevitably go down. We really need speeds to go way up.

I will admit that my own life fits with exactly the sort of usage our two services provide. I use my phone quite tactically, enjoying some streaming music here and there, navigating on Google maps when I need to and checking my email and our real-time website analytics way too often. But I am generally between Internet at home and Internet at the office. I am very willing to do smart little things to keep my cellphone usage down. It’s no great sacrifice. At home, on the other hand, I want to swim in a sea of Sonos, Rdio, Netflix, Skype, iTunes, Dropbox, ESPN3 and other glorious services. I have a wife who tends to work a lot at home with two girls who are just starting to discover the services I named and so many I have never heard of. I have already dropped the home phone and am getting ready to cut the cable TV chord. A gigabit would be beautiful.

Although I guess another important point is that we are not aiming to please everyone. No provider should. There are people who want unlimited mobile service. There are people who want cheaper home Internet. That is OK. I am confident on both services that we are offering something that some people (like me, for example) truly need and something that is truly unique. We are solving a problem. Of course, I am also confident that any service we offer at any price brings with it our unique ethic and our unique commitment to fairness, honesty and customer satisfaction. We are desperate to make people happy, which will always be our greatest point of difference.

#TEAMTING – Jason Bennett

#TEAMTING is a series where we showcase some of our favorite Ting customer stories, whether from an individual, a family, a tech-head or a retiree.

Jason lives in Charlottesville, VA and has been a Ting customer for over two years. Since switching mobile carriers, Jason’s phone bill went from $70 a month to around $20-$25 a month with Ting.

“I went back to grad school a few years ago so money was tight. I started shopping around for a new mobile carrier and like a lot of things, I turned to reddit for answers. A bunch of people told me to check out Ting and it made a lot of sense as a business model, so I went for it!”

I had the pleasure of meeting Jason while helping host a gaming event in Charlottesville a few weeks ago.

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“I switched to Ting because of the pricing model, but I read good things about their customer service too. At the time I didn’t really care because the price was right, but since then I’ve had excellent customer support and it’s all been done through online chat which is awesome because I hate talking on the phone.”

“Ting is great, I’ve used it for over two years and I’ve always felt that Ting is a trustworthy company. If you guys are getting into fiber Internet I’m all for it, because I feel that the company ethos will transfer.”

“I got my best friend and my girlfriend on Ting, so I’ve been spreading the word.”

 

Ask an Exec: Would Ting consider an Internet option between 5/5 and gigabit?

Today’s question comes from David, who wonders if Ting Internet would consider offering a speed option between symmetrical gigabit and 5 Mbps.

Adam Eisner, Director of Networks here at Ting, shares why we don’t mess around in the middle ground.

Ting Unboxing and a giveaway: LG G4

  LG G4 – Ting shop (CDMA) 

The LG G4 is the latest Android flagship to hit the Ting shop. A smart evolution from last year’s LG G3, this successor brings significant improvements to the camera and display.

For 100 bucks less than both the Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6, you also get a removable battery and removable storage for up to two terabytes via microSD! Not a bad deal if you ask us.

What’s more? We’re giving away one of these bad boys to a lucky reader.

How to enter:

  1. Subscribe to Ting on YouTube.
  2. Comment on the LG G4 Unboxing YouTube video (not this blog post) letting us know whether or not you think flagship smartphones are still worth it, and why.

*You must be a resident of the United States.

Do more with your smartphone without paying more for data

If you can use under 500 MB of cellular data a month, you can save a lot of money on your monthly bill with Ting.

You might be shaking your head thinking “half a gig? that’s impossible.” I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think.

Being a “power user” and using a lot of mobile data don’t go hand in hand. With a little forethought and maybe 10 minutes of initial setup, you can get all the smartphone stuff you want without the heavy bill. You don’t need a big ol’ data cap and you don’t need “unlimited.”

At least, that’s been my experience.

Hi, I’m Jesse, and I’m a recovering dataholic.

There are so many different ways to reduce your monthly mobile data usage without having to limit yourself or switch up your smartphone routine. Spending just five minutes reading this article and 10 minutes configuring your device will help you understand where all that mobile data is being used, and why capping your mobile data use doesn’t mean kneecapping your mobile experience.

Fiber and property values

Ting-truck-closed (ROI)There have been a couple of high profile studies and articles recently (including in the Wall Street Journal and Vice) on how the availability of high speed Internet can increase property values.

As you would expect, the most profound return is on an improvement from no or lousy Internet access to reasonable access. But there still seems to be a strong correlation between property values and Internet speeds going from reasonable to fast to crazy fast (as in Gigabit, as in the kind of Internet that only fiber can deliver and only Ting can serve up with love).

Interestingly, one of the challenges in proving causality, that the Internet speed is actually driving the value, is that the communities that are demanding and building Gigabit Internet also tend to be communities that are doing other appealing and enlightened things (culture, education, environment, crime prevention) that attract buyers and increase property values.

But it is still early days for broadband infrastructure and there are still plenty of great examples of “matched markets,” in this case, markets that are comparable in every way but Internet speed, to help draw a pretty clear conclusion. Buyers are considering the availability of fast Internet when comparing towns and neighborhoods. That translates to increased property values.

Now, at the town or neighborhood level, there might not actually be a ton you can do to leverage this information unless you are the visionary president of a city council, the iconic founders of a local ISP or even a lion-hearted lobbyist in a woefully underserved region.

There also might not be anything you need to do.

Westminster, you can thank Dr. Wack. Charlottesville, you can thank us! It appears your homes just increased in value by at least a couple of percentage points. Congratulations.

If you already have fiber available to you in your neighborhood, I think it’s more fun and relevant to think about the home renovation sort of calculation on your own installation.

People always examine returns on home improvements with studies like this “Cost versus Value 2015″ analysis. Should you renovate the kitchen or the bathroom? Should you finish the basement? (It turns out you should really just replace the siding. Long live superficiality!)

To me it’s actually all a bit irrational. If I’m buying a house from you, wouldn’t I rather you drop the price by $10,000 than invest $10,000 in a new deck? Presumably I can spend that same $10,000 myself and get a deck that suits me better. (I would start by painting over that cheesy white finish you went with. Dude, this ain’t South Beach.) But buyers seem to consistently cover a good chunk of renovations (even years afterwards) for a “move in” situation.

We are charging $399 to install fiber to the home, enabling the fastest possible Internet service in the world. There will likely not be another technology that can deliver faster Internet for at least a century. So, it’s an improvement that never fades. Plus our fiber comes in a pretty neutral color!

Again, it’s not quite rational. The buyers can just as easily pay the install price and have Ting service a day after they move in. They can replace the siding too. Mostly, you should do the install because crazy fast Internet will improve your life. But if you’re selling a home that’s worth, say, $400,000, it’s hard to imagine that advertising, “Pre-installed optic fiber for symmetrical Gigabit Internet service” (or something really fancy like that) wouldn’t add .1% to the price, isn’t it?

App of the Week: Bitmoji

Today’s featured app brings the next generation of emoticons.

Bitmoji (the company behind the popular Bitstrips comics) has spiced up emoji’s and made them more about you.

Coined “Your Avatar Emoji,” Bitmoji creates a personalized and expressive cartoon version of yourself that becomes the star across a massive library of reactions, statements and expressions, complete with all the internet memes and pop culture references you can handle.

Bitmoji can be easily added to popular messaging apps on both Android and iOS and shared on social apps like Facebook and Twitter. You can even show off your stickers to friends who haven’t yet installed the app!

Learn more about this creative app add-on in Kyra’s review below.

The first home in Westminster, MD to get crazy fast fiber Internet

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In a second, we’ll meet Tim Redmond. First, though, a question. If you were the first person to get crazy fast fiber Internet in your entire town; the first person to get a gigabit fiber connect, what would you do?

Tim and Allison Redmond’s home was the first to get the gig in Westminster, MD. Tim was the first Ting customer to use gigabit fiber Internet. His choice? Work. He worked. He telecommuted to the office and did some work.

Fitting enough, really. Telecommuting was one of the reasons Westminster, MD—at the outer bounds of what most would consider a reasonable daily commute into Baltimore, MD or, at a stretch, Washington, DC—pitched to bring to gigabit fiber Internet to town.

“I’m a CPA so I travel around a lot to different client sites. I have a lot of opportunities to work from home. In the CPA profession, there’s a high demand on your hours but at the same time, there’s a lot of flexibility.”

To be fair, he did stream a video (without any buffering or stuttering, naturally) before jumping right back into work. The point stands.

Ting Internet is now available in Westminster, MD

We’re live!

Gigabit fiber Internet is now officially available in Westminster MD and we couldn’t be more excited.

Westminster was the first community in the United States to get rural free delivery postal service, a completely transformative technology in its day. It’s only fitting that Westminster become one of the first communities in the United States to get the next generation of Internet access technology and all it entails, too.

If you live in the City of Westminster and are looking to get connected, simply run your address at the top of the Ting Westminster page. If we haven’t yet made it to your home or business, don’t worry, we’re coming. Just hit the “Sign up for updates” button and we’ll keep you in the loop. Don’t forget to sign an access agreement to allow the City to do the necessary work, too. (Residential access agreement | Business access agreement)

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If you haven’t had the chance to follow along with our progress, we’ve put in a lot of work over the past few months up to today’s launch. On June 26 we hosted a fiber lighting ceremony with some key industry leaders in attendance (including the FCC’s Gigi Sohn). Since then, we’ve been busy installing all the necessary equipment to light up the whole network and bring crazy fast fiber Internet all across town.

Speaking of which, we should probably get back to work. Great chatting. We’ll do it again soon.