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The great Ting mobile data experiment

Want to experiment with us?

First, let’s put this out there right away: We’re not twisting our collective pencil mustache in the time-honored indication of nefarious intent. That said, this is not an experiment the more intensely privacy-minded among us will want to get involved in.

We’re looking to identify some trends around data use. We want to understand mobile data wastage; that is, data that’s used whether you actively decided to use it or not. We’re interested in more than just data that’s used in the background… though we’re interested in that too.

Here’s the ask

We’re inviting a small group of people to install a Ting data monitor app on their phone for one month. In that time, we’re asking them to use their phone as they normally would.

What this app does is basically keep a running tally on when your phone is being actively used and when it’s not. Beyond that, it effectively mines Android for the information that’s displayed in Settings > Data usage to see which apps are using what amount of data, when.

What happens when I port my number?

We have number transfers (ports-ins) happening every day and so to us, it’s just routine. We sometimes forget that, because a mobile number becomes such a part of a person’s identity, entrusting it to someone else’s care is scary. It doesn’t need to be. Let’s walk through the process.

Step 1:  Don’t cancel anything

If you want to transfer your phone number from your old carrier to a new one, it’s key that you don’t cancel with your soon-to-be previous carrier first. Your number and your account have to be active during this process.

Step 2:  Start where you want to end up

Once you’ve got a phone or SIM card compatible with your new carrier, you’ll start the transfer process with them. Usually that means filling out a form with the information your previous carrier has on file. Little piece of trivia: In industry jargon, the carrier you’re leaving is referred to as the “losing carrier.” The carrier you’re moving to is called the “gaining carrier.”

This just in, Alaska is cold.

If your name is Rob, you live in Alaska where you get Internet service from AT&T, how likely are you to refer a friend to Ting?

I mean, I can’t answer that… but I know some people that can.

The Analytics and Insights team looks at data that relates to our business. Not so much data that relates to our customers or prospects as individuals; think more “churn as it relates to primary network usage in hybrid accounts” and less “Bill just looked at the Moto E for five minutes but didn’t hit the buy button.”

A little broad context here: A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a pretty standard metric that tells companies what people think of them. If you’ve ever gotten an email asking you how likely you’d be to recommend (the service) to a friend on a scale from 0 – 10, that’s a company measuring its NPS. The results are pulled together and calculated to become a score out of 100, the company’s NPS score. Anything over 50 is considered really good.

A little more context: Every other week, typically on a Friday, some of the teams within Tucows present things they’ve been working on, interesting stuff they’ve discovered, insights and so on.

Sometimes, it’s important business. Sometimes it’s esoteric. Last week, after the first category was covered, they delved into the latter.

Here are a few fun facts that our own Graeme Bunton, heading up the Analytics and Insights team, was able to pull out when comparing Ting customer NPS ratings against a range of criteria.

Stock market speculators hungry for every little piece of business intelligence we can offer up, pay attention.

Filed under: You don’t say…

If you’ve referred a friend to Ting, you’re much more likely to love us than if you haven’t.
(80 vs. 68)

Filed under: What did we ever do to you?

People in Alaska really don’t like us very much. At all. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it could be a coverage issue. People in Wyoming seemingly can’t get enough, and we take heart in that.
(-33 vs. 81)

Filed under: The puns write themselves.

People in Loveland, CO clearly have a lot of love to give. In Bend, OR they could go either way.
(96 vs. 50)

Filed under: A totally reasonable hypothesis.

People with an AT&T (* or Centurylink (* email address are clearly tired of business as usual and appreciate the Ting approach. People with a Netscape (* email address are living in the past and are a little uncomfortable with our disruption.
(80 vs. 60)

Filed under: What’s in a name?

People named Casey, Robin and Janice don’t really like us all that much and that hurts. We take solace in the fact that Ashley and Rob do, though.
(51 vs. 89)

Not sure how useful any of this data really is. If nothing else though, we’ve learned that people named Casey, Robin or Janice living in Alaska, using a Netscape email address probably aren’t ideal prospects for Ting.

Ting and Westminster get lit

UPDATE: The live event is over and the fiber is lit! We’ve updated this blog post with an archived video of the live stream.

Ting Internet and the municipal fiber network are about to go live in Westminster. Watch the video stream from our friends at Channel 23 and the Carroll County Community Media Center as the City of Westminster gets the gig!

Bringing gigabit fiber to Charlottesville, VA. It’s happening.

The Internet is a funny thing. You have an idea and a few days later you’re online, open for business and making money.

A terrible oversimplification, of course, but it is, at least, conceivable.

Building the network that gets people online doesn’t happen at quite the same speed. With some great people on the ground and in the the office there, though, it is certainly happening in Charlottesville, VA, and it’s beginning to pick up steam.

In Charlottesville (where this article was started but alas not finished) it’s apparent that a lot of work goes into bringing next generation Internet to a community. This and more I saw first-hand on a recent trip to one of the first Ting gigabit Internet towns.

While in Cville for the Tom Tom Founders Festival, I accompanied the installation crew on a couple of outings.

An update from the frontlines.

We haven’t been ourselves lately. There’s still a bit of a road ahead but right now, things are at least starting to get back to normal.

Sprint’s financial eligibility date (FED) check put a serious crimp in the bring your own device to Ting program and pushed a lot of people to call us to find out what was going on. We pushed the Ting on a GSM network beta release up a little in order to offer some different options. The end result was us breaking our promise of no hold customer service.

Marketing went into stealth mode while we sorted things out. We stopped most of the things we do to try to get new customers and instead jumped into the ticket and email queue to lend a hand there.

The ship has been righted and it’s just about anchors aweigh. In keeping with the nautical theme, it will soon be steady as she goes.