On Data Use and Doing the Right Thing

By Andrew Moore-Crispin

When you’re trying to bring about a better way to do mobile, you face some unique and interesting challenges.

Case in point: recently, a Ting customer reached out to us to explain that he’d been billed for some data and couldn’t initially figure out why given that he hadn’t actively used any data. After some forensics, it turns out this customer has a data device that released and renewed its IP address. In so doing, it used 536 bytes of data or 0.0005 of a megabyte. There was no other data use on this device. Effectively, this tiny amount of data pushed him from the XS tier ($0, 0MB) for data and into the Small tier ($3, up to 100MB).

Rather than rubbing our hands together while laughing maniacally at our ill-gotten $3, then grabbing three sodas from the vending machine (that was my suggestion but it was summarily shot down) we decided to do the right thing. Not just by refunding this particular customer but by making a change to our billing policies for all Ting customers.

Effective today, we’re offering data grace in an effort to ensure that customers aren’t billed for data they didn’t know they were using; IP refreshes and the like.

In the first month of service, every Ting customer receives 20MB of data grace. This is to cover data that’s sent during the initial activation of a smartphone or data device. If you connect your smartphone to a Wi-Fi network before activating, which we recommend in all our Ting Start Up Guide video series, you’re already ahead of the game.

If you roll through the 20MB grace with willful data use, you’ll be billed normally. We’re not making the first 20MB of data free so much as we’re protecting customers against data that didn’t intend to use in the initial activation, phone setup and poking around process.

You’ll definitely want to make sure you connect to a Wi-Fi network before doing anything major like grabbing the latest Android update or pulling all your Gmail contacts in from the cloud on the mobile network, but 20MB will more than cover any data used in the initial activation.

Subsequent months, every Ting customer gets 1MB of data grace to cover things like IP refreshes and server pings. Again, basically, data that customers didn’t willfully use.

That’s just how we roll.

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