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2013: A Ting retrospective

We’re not ones for regaling people with tales of our past wins. Nor will we rest on our laurels. Still, there are a few key accomplishments from the year that was we’d like to call out.

Check out the timeline on the Ting about page for a month-by-month blow of what we’ve done since we officially launched in February of 2012. Read on for some of the biggest, most impactful and proudest of our accomplishments of 2013.

It behooves us to point out: None of what follows would have been possible without the support, and occasional urging, of our awesome customers. So all credit to you and a very sincere thanks.

New phones

Not owning network infrastructure used to mean not having a line on the best phones. Now though, Ting gets access to the latest and greatest devices at or at very nearly the same time as the major carrier incumbents.

Much behind the scenes wrangling has made it so and while there’s no one MVNO industry alliance (perhaps we’ll put that on the list for the year ahead), we feel confident and justified in taking our fair share of credit for turning this tide. The waves we’ve made have started to trickle out to other MVNOs too and can be seen in their improved phone lineups.

Nexus-5In 2013, we were the first MVNO to officially offer support for the Nexus 5. That was no mean feat. As we said in our Nexus 5 manifesto: With the Nexus 5, Google is messing with the mobile status quo. While we’re fans of that kind of thing, as we’ve said elsewhere, it does complicate things for the “business as usual” systems we interface with. It was worth the trouble and now, Nexus 5 owners have the option to choose Ting and mobile that makes sense for their shiny new device.

In 2013, we were the first MVNO to offer Windows Phone 8 devices.

The first to offer the Galaxy S4. Note 3. HTC One. Moto X. And so on and so forth.

We were the first to officially launch Tri-Band LTE access and devices to take advantage of this new, faster and more versatile LTE standard.

While we can’t currently offer the devices up for sale, we were the first CDMA carrier to offer bring your own device (BYOD) capability for a certain iConic smartphone, one generation old. We’ll continue to work to offer the latest and greatest versions of these desirable devices.

2014 will be our year.

Complete redesign

We believe that if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. So it is that we never consider Ting to be “finished.” We’re continuously working on the site, on your account dashboard and its capability, on our service, pricing, device lineup, BYOD offerings and so on.

Ting underwent what other companies would probably consider a “full redesign” in 2013. We worked a page at a time, adding functionality, cleaning up navigation and bringing in a more refined visual style.

Over 2013, we completely rethought our homepage. Now, it helps Ting customers get where they need to go (specifically, to their Ting dashboard… also completely redesigned in 2013). For people who aren’t familiar with Ting and what we’re doing, the new home page does a much better job of distilling Ting down to its core tenets and presenting them clearly and concisely.

Ditching plans, going post-paid

When we first launched, it was on a pre-paid model. Customers would pick the service levels they thought they’d hit for the month. If they went over their selected amounts for minutes, messages or megabytes of data, we’d bill the difference (without any overage penalties, of course) the subsequent month. If they used less than they thought they would, we’d drop them down to the bucket they landed in and automatically issue a credit for the difference.

As you can see, it can become a little difficult to explain… which is precisely why we changed it.

In 2013 we ditched plans and prepayment entirely. Now, everyone starts off the cycle at 0 minutes, messages and megabytes and actual usage determines the bill.

Much simpler and therefore, better for all involved..


Paying out ETFs

Early in the year, we put aside a $100,000 fund dedicated to paying off the early termination fees (ETFs) of the contract-afflicted to help them make the move to Ting. It seems we tapped a wellspring of pent up demand: Our $100,000 fund lasted all of seven minutes.

Later, we made ETF assistance something we just do as opposed to a one-off promotion. In September, we launched our ETF relief effort. We’ll give back 25% of a switcher’s ETF up to $75 as Ting credit if they’re leaving a contract to make the move.

With some among the major carriers announcing at CES 2014 that they’re taking a similar approach (though naturally more fraught with terms, conditions and legalese, than our offering) it’s fun to see our strategies validated by the big three.

Shipping portfolio

Ting-portfolioIn October, we launched our new, reusable Ting shipping portfolio. Everyone that orders a device from Ting now receives it in one of our awesome reusable portfolios.

Our goal was to create something that, once it had served its primary purpose of getting a Ting device to your door safe and sound, could be re-used. It makes a great protective carrier for a tablet or netbook.

Internally, we call the portfolio version 1.0 and we intend to improve upon it with a new version later this year.

The year ahead

We have many goals for 2014. For obvious reasons, we can’t say too much at this early stage but here are a few things we’re working on.

Better communication around coverage: Our network provider has been busy making vast improvements to its vast network infrastructure. Ting customers have access to LTE in more than 300 markets, including several Tri-Band LTE offerings, as it is. In 2014, these improvements don’t just continue, they go into an even higher gear.

For our part, we resolve to do a better job of communicating with customers both current and to-be about these improvements as they hit.

VoIP: Another big goal for 2014 is to offer voice over IP (VoIP) calling. In other words, routing calls through the Internet where possible and seamlessly handing off between cellular and local networks. Adding VoIP means the potential for even more saving with Ting. As you might imagine, it’s not a simple matter… but we’ve got some smart people on the problem.

Shipping portfolio 2.0: As we mentioned, we’re looking to make the Ting shipping portfolio even better in 2014. It’s still early days and we’re always interested to hear how you think the portfolio could be improved. We’ve even got a simple form you can use to share your feedback.

Be sure to keep up to date on the Ting Facebook page, on our Twitter feed and / or grab the Ting blog RSS feed with your favorite feed reader.

Here’s looking forward to even more awesome in 2014!