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A Valentines’ Day message to RingPlus customers: Stay

Dear RingPlus customers. I know you are restless. I know there are sexier options out there. Even as you flirt with us in social media and run your eyes all over our $35 credit, I can feel you planning your escape. So, on this Valentine’s Day, I want to boldly suggest that it might be time to settle down. I want to suggest that, just maybe, you should stay.

We will never try to control you.

Many of the plans you will consider out there are just that, plans. You commit to a fixed amount of usage. That’s when the games start. If you need less than what you bought, you just wasted money. If you need more than what you bought, you are likely buying overpriced top ups or paying penalties. Or maybe you get throttled or hotlined.

Ting doesn’t play games or offer plans. You use what you use and you pay a fair price for it at the end of the month. That’s why our customers average just $23 per phone a month. If you need just one phone to make the occasional call and you don’t need text or data, that probably means you are paying $9 for the month (a $6 line fee plus $3 for up to 100 minutes).

Plus, we actually give you tools and tip to help you control your usage and manage your budget. We want you to spend less so you stay longer and tell your friends. You can set alerts or even hard stops when your devices or your account reaches certain amounts of voice, text or data.

In fact, we don’t even care to control what phone or network you use. Bring a phone or buy a phone. Use a flip phone or a hotspot. Switch between our two networks. Have different phones on your account on different networks at the same time.

I guess I’m saying we’re easy. Heck, I’ll say it. We’re easy.

We will love your family.

Ting is simply unbeatable for multiple devices. Many of you have talked about having some family members on more traditional plans and then low usage family members on RingPlus. Ting value gets better with more devices on your account and gives you the simplicity of one control panel, one support call and one bill. You can have unlimited phones on an account. Each active phone costs just a $6 line fee each month. Then we pool the usage across all your phones to determine what you pay for data, voice and text each month. When you add elderly parents or kids to a plan that includes average smartphone users, those low usage family members are likely costing you $6 a month and then almost nothing on their incremental usage.

We will listen and help.

Free or low cost providers usually mean that you are pretty much on your own. At Ting, we have managed to cut expenses elsewhere – marketing, real estate, wholesale costs – and, in fact, offer the most outstanding customer support in the industry.

We have the most knowledgeable, resourceful, patient and personable reps. We also train, direct and empower them to give every customer the time they require and help every customer any way they can. This unique approach to customer support has earned us top ratings in the Consumer Reports survey of U.S. cell phone carriers for the past three years. It is the sort of benefit you might not even think you need or care about until you experience it.

We will stick around.

Many of you are still thinking, “Sure, but I want free.” I get it. It is tough to go from getting something for free to paying for it. But you know what’s tougher? Changing providers every time yours goes out of business. Listen. Services like Ting, RingPlus, Tello, FreedomPop, Solavei, Republic Wireless and others pay our carrier partners for any use on our service. If carriers were offering free wholesale service, I would know about it. If we have to pay the carriers and we are not collecting enough from customers, we have a problem. Ad-supported models don’t work because, in the end, customers almost never buy what the advertisers are selling. Other tricks that count on customers using too little or using too much don’t work because customers will ultimately be very smart and act in their own interest. Offers that look too good to be true probably are.

Ting is a bit boring. We charge a fair margin on all usage from the first megabyte, minute and text. But it seems to be working for everyone. Our 250,000 customers on 150,000 accounts are happy to be paying $23 a month on average and as little as $6 a month for emergency phones. Our employees are happy because they have good jobs and are selling something they believe in. Our shareholders are happy because the company (Tucows, NASDAQ:TCX) has gone from a valuation of about $30 million when we launched Ting in 2012 to nearly $500 million today.

In other words, we are not going anywhere.

We will migrate you over shortly. Spend the night, use your credits, have a good time. If you wake up at the end of your credits and you have somewhere else you need to be, we will not keep you. Although I think a lot of you might finally be right where you belong.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

RingPlus customers: A lifeline from Ting

UPDATE: Feb 10, 2017 – For the latest news on the RingPlus to Ting migration, an explanation, frequently asked questions and links to helpful resources, please check out the official RingPlus to Ting page

RingPlus customersYou may have heard the news that RingPlus, a phone company offering service on the Nationwide Sprint Network (an MVNO in industry parlance) is going away. We’re never happy to see companies close up shop. While people still have a fair bit of carrier choice, we believe that more is better when it comes to options beyond the “big four.”

That said, Ting is uniquely positioned to throw a lifeline to RingPlus refugees… and that’s just what we’re doing.

We’re offering $35 in Ting credit per account to RingPlus customers who bring their number over to Ting. Just go to the Ting RingPlus landing page and follow the simple steps to get your number moved over. This is our effort to make it as easy as possible to bring RingPlus numbers to Ting in advance of the deadline. It’s worth noting that your RingPlus phone and your SIM card (if applicable) are compatible with Ting, too, so you’re in good shape there.

RingPlus has told its customers they have until Friday, February 11 at 5pm CST to move (“port”) their number to another carrier before it disappears into the ether.

Number ports from RingPlus to Ting are running slowly right now because of volume. Things should speed up once RingPlus opens the gates. While a lot of MVNOs might consider this a “heavy lift,” we’ve done this kind of thing a few times before so rest assured, you’ll be in good hands.

We’re also in discussions with Sprint and RingPlus as we look for ways to make the transition simpler for RingPlus customers to come to Ting. That said, the rolling stone gathers no moss; if you’re a RingPlus customer and you’re feeling understandably nervous, it’s best to get your number port into the queue as soon as possible.


Switch to Ting

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.

The Ting self-serve help site gets a makeover

Recently we let you know that changes were afoot for our help site and those changes are rolling right along. The first step was reorganizing the content in a way that made more sense as well as removing content that was no longer relevant. Now we’re on step two: The makeover and the move.

What’s different?

Well, first, the help site looks a lot more like it’s a part of Ting (which seemed like a good idea, given that it is). Until now being on didn’t feel like you were in a Ting space and we wanted to change that to make the experience more, dare we say, holistic.

Before we undertook the reorganization, we took the time to better understand how people approach help. We used some of what we learned to do some top-level navigation that will help people find the help documentation they seek without too much messing around. You’ll also notice we’ve worked to make each help page not just easier on the eyes but also easier to navigate.

Why isn’t Ting picking up right away when I call?

Help and supportWe make a big deal about our no hold, no transfer customer service. That’s because we’re proud of it. Right now, though, if you call us, there’s a good chance we won’t pick up right away.

There are several things happening all at once that are driving call volumes higher than anyone could have anticipated.

Before we get to that, though, let us say this: Every time we don’t pick up the phone right away and someone gets put on hold, we view it as a broken promise. We are taking this very seriously. This post is intended to offer you the best explanation we can. It certainly isn’t intended as an excuse.

The short version is this: The Ting support team is overrun right now due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. For questions that aren’t account-specific, “self service” via the Ting help site is the best bet, wherever that’s possible. Read on for all the details.

Ting on a GSM network: Breaking radio silence

iphone_6_gsm_copyWe have this terrible habit of saying that we’ll do something then going off and doing it. Sure, as problems go, it’s a good one to have. However, sometimes we get tunnel vision and we neglect to keep you, dear reader, updated as to our progress.

Let’s fix that for Ting on a GSM network now.

tl;dr: We’re on track to launch Ting on a GSM network in late February. The full GSM FAQ is in our knowledge base. We’re slowly inviting people into the early beta phases now. If you want to get all the news as it hits, sign up for email updates at the bottom of this post.