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Ting Customer Q & A – Emmett Hoops

Emmett Hoops

Ting customer since: May 2012
Previous carrier: Virgin Mobile
Monthly savings with Ting: min. $55/mo.

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

It was mentioned in a Google+ thread on cell phone outrages.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

Everything about Ting tells me that the company is on my side. In fact, I feel it’s not a side: I feel Ting and I are a team, beating the high cost of cell phones together.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting? How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?

: I had been with Sprint for 10 years, then with Virgin. I had to pay a $70 fee to Sprint because I left two months early.

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

I am saving a minimum $55 a month over Sprint; $14 a month over Virgin. (Virgin is the absolute worst for coverage. They have NO roaming agreements.)

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

1

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

I tell them my story, especially how I was refunded money because I didn’t use 1 GB of data (I used 37 MB.) I offer to show them my account statement if we’re near a computer. Otherwise I try to get them to understand that they have alternatives. (That’s harder than I thought.)

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

I could not be happier with a phone company than I am with Ting. I feel they have a sense of humor — the press release in June about coming out with a data sharing plan four months earlier was pretty dang hilarious — and I never, ever expected to get money back for data I did not use. Once I had a technical question, and called customer service. I got a human being who spoke flawless English, all without pressing A this, C that, “your business is very important so please wait” kind of stuff. Being with Ting is the best choice I’ve made in communications technology, ever.

What should we be doing better?:

Better? Ting? Tucows? Well, I’d have to say that while I’m more than happy with the voice and text coverage, data roaming would be nice too. I realize that it’s inordinately expensive; indeed, it’s the biggest topic these days in cell service. However, I believe that Ting and I are on the same side, so I know they’re looking at ways of providing data roaming — and that if they (we) find an attractive price, we’ll have it available.

Help make Google’s Nexus MVNO friendly

The reasons for the Nexus series of devices being non-MVNO friendly are many and we’ll explore them here on the Ting blog soon. More pressing though is an entirely end user-driven petition campaign asking Google to make the next non-GSM versions of the Nexus devices MVNO friendly.

We have a lot of love for unmodified Android as it comes on the Nexus devices. It’s the most open, the most pure and Nexus users are always the first to get OTA updates meaning it’s also the line that is running the absolute latest version of Android. In short, it’s not your typical locked-down smartphone. It’s ironic, then, that MVNOs like Ting who are challenging business as usual mobile are out of the running to carry the Nexus device, itself a challenger.

We’ve been considering a letter writing campaign or a petition in order to show popular support for making the Nexus MVNO friendly. One particularly would-be Ting Nexus user, Ken Kinder, decided to beat us to the punch. He started TingMyNexus.com, hosting the petition that was on our to-do list. He started circulating it to get digital signatures: 74 at last count. We asked Ken what motivated him to start this effort:

Ting: Why do you think the Nexus line of devices should have a
home on Ting (and by extension, other MVNOs?)

Ken Kinder: Well of course the Galaxy Nexus is the most hacker-friendly phone on the market. Google doesn’t offer tech support for tinkering with the firmware, but they also don’t try to stop you. Ting has the same attitude: they’re happy to have hobbyists finding creative ways to use their devices.

A more subtle connection is that Ting, like the Galaxy Nexus, is a clean and distraction-free experience. Booting up a phone with a lot of pre-installed doodads, demo apps, and unwanted games is like walking down the Vegas strip: everywhere you look, stuff is competing for your attention. Websites for many carriers, and especially discount MVNOs, are the same way with flashing banners, constant up-sells, and gaudy advertisements. Ting and the Galaxy Nexus are both pleasant experiences, free of post-sale up-sells.

T: What prompted you to create the TingMyNexus.com site?

K: I had contemplated creating it before Ting’s BYOD announcement but after we learned that the Nexus would be excluded from BYOD, I was just really surprised. Google sells an unlocked, carrier-neutral version of their GSM phone, so their decision to keep the LTE Nexus exclusive to only a few carriers is puzzling. I feel that if Ting users voice their demand, Google might reexamine its distribution agreements and bring the next Nexus phone to Ting, or at least let the Sprint version be ported.

T: What is it about the Nexus devices that you find so compelling?

K: It’s the canonical Android phone, so Android updates come quickly. Every other phone has some modified version of what’s on the Nexus, but the Nexus has the original Android operating system, as it was intended by the people who made it. Just as important, although more OEMs are coming around on this, the Nexus phones have always let you install whatever operating system you want on your phone. I feel like if I own a computer, I should be able to use whatever software I want on it, and the Nexus is ideal for that.

T: What are your goals for the site? What does success look like for
this effort?

K: The current Galaxy Nexus is almost a year old, so it’s their next flagship phone that’s on the horizon for me. If Google releases that device for Ting, that’s the best possible outcome.

T: How can people help get the word out?

K: Tweet it, share it on your social networks, and let people know. There is a huge community of hobbyists who want a carrier with a transparent pricing model. Go on XDA-Developers or Reddit and you’ll find plenty of contempt for big phone companies charging for things like tethering or voicemail. People in the Android tech community really do want to just buy pristine phones outright, then pay for what they use.

T: What platform did you use before you made the move to Android?
Specifically, what was it about Android that made you switch?

K: The HTC G1 was my first smartphone and the first Android phone. Its main appeal at the time, honestly, was that it would synchronize over the air to my Gmail address book. Being a full-time developer and long-time Linux user, I also appreciate that most of Android is Open Source.

FWIW, I actually ordered a Galaxy S3. But I’m going to keep it in an Otterbox so that if Ting ever gets the next Nexus device, I can resell my S3 on Swappa and get the Nexus. The S3 is a great phone spec-wise, but I still prefer stock Android to Touchwiz.

Sign the petition to help get the Nexus line of devices on Ting

Our customer service team is growing!

It’s been a busy summer at Ting and I’m super pleased to welcome six new advisors to the customer experience team. Scott, Joey, Kyra, Tameika, Olga and Allan have recently finished up their training, and are just dying to help Ting customers with any questions they might have with their newly activated devices.

So why not give ’em a call and say hello? They’d love to hear from you!

Announcing Ting dashboard 2.0 preview

Today our talented dev team took the wraps off the new Ting account dashboard. It’s available to preview now and will be ready to roll out to all users soon, following the preview period and some final tweaks.

To check out the new dashboard just click on the Dashboard Preview link in the right hand navigation panel of your Ting account page. We think you’ll be glad you did.

Upon hitting the Dashboard Preview link you’ll be dropped in to the brand new control panel that features easier to read usage gauges for minutes, messages and megabytes (reminiscent of Great Pokéballs… which it must be pointed out have a 1.5x better chance of catching a Pokémon than a standard Pokéball), improved individual device-level control, brand new individual device-level alerts as well as the option to disable voice, text messages, data or completely suspend the individual device in question when it hits the limits you’ve defined. We’ve also made it easier to see events like phone calls, text messages and data sessions by account or by device.

The new control panel also allows the option to change global account settings to turn things like call forwarding and international calling, text and picture / video messaging, tethering, 4G and more on or off at the account level. Any devices whose preferences you’ve already set will remain unchanged; these global preferences will be stored and applied to any new devices you add to your Ting account upon activation.

We’ve made it much easier to find your Refer a Friend details and we’ve made it simpler share Ting with friends via Facebook and Twitter.

We’ve cleaned up the Details streams which are now nested under each of the usage dials; click View Details under the Minutes, Messages or

Megabytes dials to see a full log of all activity on your account. We’ve made it easier to change your plan and we’ve done a lot of work to clarify bills. We’ll continue to tweak during this preview phase and we have a lot of plans to further clarify bills in the coming development cycles.

Log in to your account, click the Dashboard Preview link and have a look around.

Please let us know what you think by filling out the Ting account control panel redesign survey, embedded below and available here.

Ting Customer Q&A – LeAnn Barga

LeAnn Barga

Ting customer since: Aug 2012
Previous carrier: Sprint
Monthly savings with Ting: Approx. $40/mo

Where did you first hear about Ting?:

I believe I first heard about Ting from a friend online.

What was it about Ting that resonated with you and made you want to switch?:

I love that with Ting I only pay for what I use, and if I use more than what I “plan” I am not bombarded with exorbitant fees. I really also enjoy the personal customer service, especially from Sarah in marketing. She was very helpful in my switch.

Were you in contact with a mobile carrier before you made the move to Ting? How long was left? What did that translate to in early termination fees?:

I was still in a contract with Sprint, I had 7 months left and my ETF was $70.00

What kind of savings are you seeing with Ting, month over month?:

I am saving over 50% savings each month. With Sprint I paid $84.68 a month. With Ting I pay $42.07.

How many phones and/or data services do you have on your Ting plan?:

1

When you explain Ting to your friends, family and/or random passers by, what do you say?:

I explain that I am with an amazing cell phone provider, Ting and that I pay less than half of what I formally paid with my previous provider.

Are you happy you made the move to Ting? Care to elaborate?:

I am very happy that I made the move to Ting. Not only is the customer service great, I can view my usage in real time.

What should we be doing better?:

I had wished that I could have brought my existing Sprint phone with me to Ting, but I am really enjoying my new cell phone.

BYOD – coming soon to Ting

UPDATE: BYOD for Sprint devices will hit beta testing soon. The latest details are in our BYO(S)D – Moving ever closer to Ting blog post.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the most oft asked for features for Ting customers both current and would-be. It’s always been on our list and we’re always working to be able to offer it. That work is beginning to pay off. We’ll be rolling out the first phase of our BYOD program in Q4 of this year.

We’d say we’re excited to announce BYOD but that sounds too PR-ish. We’d say we’re super stoked to announce BYOD but that’d sound like we’re trying too hard. I guess you could say we’re at a loss for words to express just how super excitedly stoked we are to announce BYOD.

Before we dive in to the details on our upcoming BYOD plan, we want to manage some expectations. First, we’ll only be able to do BYOD for devices that work on the Sprint network initially [CLARIFICATION: and both Boost and Virgin mobile devices are excluded]. BYOSD, if you will. That said, this is a vital first step toward a more fluid mobile world where devices can move between carriers. We’ll continue to push. Second, this is not a backdoor to get the iPhone on Ting. BlackBerry, push to talk (PTT) and a small list of specific handsets won’t be BYODable (hey, it’s a word now). At least not immediately.

That said, for the vocal Windows Phone devotees we hear from, this development means that many Windows Phone devices purchased from Sprint can be brought over to and used on Ting. It also means that the super sweet Android smartphone you bought from Sprint can have a home on Ting and that the perfectly serviceable Sprint handset sitting in your desk drawer can come along too rather than taking a one-way trip to landfill.

We’ve got to hand it to Sprint on this too; this a brave and forward-thinking step. We partnered with Sprint because they’ve made it clear that virtual operators are important. This kind of development demonstrates just how important.

We’re still a good couple of months away from being able to offer BYOSD. Consider this a heads-up; if you’ve been hesitating on making the move to Ting because you’ve got a perfectly good Sprint device you’d like to bring along, you need hesitate no longer. Well. You need hesitate only a little while longer.

We must point out though, the sooner you move to Ting, the sooner you save. You can buy a Ting device knowing that your current Sprint handset can be handed over to your partner, your mom or the kids when BYOD hits. Running the numbers on the Ting calculator you’ll see that even factoring the device purchase price in, Ting will save you money on mobile. That said, if you have a reasonably current Sprint phone you paid good money for and would like to bring to Ting, you’ll realize those savings even sooner.

Our focus is on providing awesome and friendly mobile service. We’d much rather let our customers buy their phones from whatever outlet they prefer or bring their existing mobiles to Ting when their contract expires. This is a huge step in that direction.

How BYOSD on Ting will work

If you have a supported Sprint device that’s not under contract (or if you want to pay the ETF fees to get out of your contract), you’ll be able activate it on Ting just as you would a device that you purchased from us.

Your ex-Sprint device will use your Ting account’s pooled minutes, messages and megabytes.

Which phones are eligible for BYOSD?

Any Sprint phone will be eligible with a few notable exceptions including the iPhone, BlackBerry and PTT devices we mentioned before [CLARIFICATION: Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile devices are also not eligible for BYOD]. The list of exclusions isn’t finalized but will certainly be much shorter than the list of devices that can be brought over.

The reverse is also true

Any device purchased from Ting can also be BYOD’d to Sprint. It’s always been this way.

Strangely, we’re happy about this too. There are people who have been reluctant to try Ting because while we don’t (nor will we ever) lock devices, there’s a perception that a Ting device can only be used on Ting. This BYOD development makes the leap of faith more of a hop and people are more likely to give us a chance when Sprint is there as a fall-back plan. We’re sure that once mobile users get a taste of “mobile that makes sense,” they’ll have no desire to leave. That said, it’s the safety net that some people need.

We’ve been pushing hard for BYOSD. There’s still a bit of a wait but Q4 isn’t that far away. We’ll continue to push in an effort to make this happen in the earlier part of Q4.

As always, we’ll keep you posted. Follow our Device Updates feed to get the latest news.

If you want BYOD on Ting, please take a moment to fill out the quick survey that’s embedded below.