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Consumer Reports’ annual cell phone service report is out.
Challengers outpace the incumbents again in 2015

Congratulations to Consumer Cellular, Republic Wireless and us! It looks like readers had some really nice things to say about us as a whole again in the annual Consumer Reports annual cell phone service ratings.

Seems we three are the new incumbent carriers. The ones to beat. So it is that we sat down together for an in-camera meeting and agreed that the innovation stops here. This far, no further. No new ideas! Unless they’re ideas on how to wring an extra few cents out of our respective customer bases.

We don’t need to say we’re kidding, do we?

Started from the bottom

Just a few years ago, we upstart carriers (MVNOs or mobile virtual network operators, if you want to get all technical) were regarded with suspicion. Now, as reports like this one from this most respected of consumer review outlets make clear, the tide is turning.

The message that MVNO customers don’t get second rate service (because they don’t) and that we’re not fly by night outfits is catching. When it comes to cell phone service, the idea that the way things have always been done is the way they’ll always be is losing ground.

The fact that we no-contract carriers are rising to the top in independent reviews like this, the most independent of reviews, is telling too. When you use the carrot and stick method to get customers (deep discounted and otherwise subsidized or $0 phones are the carrot, the contract is the stick, just to be clear) you have less incentive to keep customers happy.

We came, we saw, we lit some fiber

On June 26, with Gigi Sohn of the FCC in attendance, we helped Westminster, MD light up its very own gigabit fiber network. As the exclusive provider for the first phase, we’ll be offering Ting crazy fast fiber Internet and sharing our simple, honest approach to customer service, powerful online tools, no contract and no caps for area homes and businesses.

This is the second Ting town to come online and our first of this sort of innovative (if we do say so ourselves) public/private partnership.

It’s clear that politicians and policy makers are watching the Ting and Westminster, MD partnership with great interest. We’ll do Westminster proud.

Press release (PDF)

Fo Fum, Change Gonna Come

I want to address Google’s new mobile service, Fi, starting with the obvious question:

Are you scared?

What?! Scared? Why would you…I’ve never been…sure, a little.

Google can do things nobody else can. They also have that uniquely Google thing where they might mess with folks over here just to ultimately achieve some totally different goal over there.

I definitely had that movie moment in my head where the giant lizard is stomping down the street and I’m hoping the foot lands a few inches to my right.

Then I got calm. (And it wasn’t because I realized you have to buy a $649 phone to use the service. Although that helped.) Then I started to get excited. Here’s how I think about it.

150,000 Ting subscribers might say, “Hmm, I should check this out.” 350,000,000 non-Ting subscribers might now lift their heads up and say, “There are choices beyond the major carriers?!”

Welcome, Google.
The water’s fine.

HangoutsYou may have heard that Google is stepping in to the mobile carrier game as a “mobile virtual network operator” or MVNO. They apparently plan to offer service on both the Sprint (CDMA) and the T-Mobile (GSM) networks.

An Internet company that recognizes mobile as the platform for the next generation and so makes efforts to help people gain access.

Sound familiar?

Noss and Obama agree on plan for municipal broadband

To be clear, our CEO, Elliot Noss, and President Barack Obama have not actually met. But they do seem to agree on a plan to bring super fast Internet to towns across the country, boost the economy and reverse income inequality.

Obama will highlight this in his State of the Union address tonight.

Noss offered a bit of a preview in an interview with Chris Mitchell of MuniNetworks.org released this morning. Through his work at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Chris has long advocated for broadband networks, including munipal-owned fiber networks, that better service communities.

Chris and Elliot cover a bunch of fun topics in just under a half hour, including:

– Ting’s unique customer experience
– Models for building and operating a fiber network along the spectrum from private to public
– The Westminster model
– The future of television

Take a listen here…

 

Also, please tune in to the State of the Union address at 9pm ET tonight and come back to share your thoughts here. It is very exciting to see this topic at the top of the agenda.

Tri-Band LTE now available in 17 new markets

Just yesterday, Tri-Band LTE rolled out to 17 new cities, bringing the current number of total LTE markets, including these newest Tri-Band LTE regions, to over 500 across the United States!

Confused by this “Tri-Band” lingo? It simply means LTE service offered on three distinct frequencies, which provides more reliable coverage, greater capacity and faster network speeds (more info). Many devices on Ting support Tri-Band LTE, including the HTC Desire 510LG G3, HTC One M8, and Galaxy S5. For a complete list, head to the Ting Help Center!

New areas covered by Tri-Band LTE: