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What the stymied Sprint T-Mobile takeover means to Ting

Sprint has withdrawn its bid to take over rival T-Mobile. The two carriers will remain competitors as opposed to a stronger combined number three carrier in the US mobile market.

So what does that mean for Ting and for Ting customers?

Nothing, really.

As Michael Goldstein pointed out in his post addressing the (then) possible merger, we could only make educated guesses about what might have happened if Sprint were successful in its takeover bid. We were optimistic that, given both the players’ demonstrated attitudes to wholesale, MVNOs like us would find an easy fit in the new mix.

Regulators made it clear the proposed merger would have been contested. Both the Justice Department and the FCC threw hats into the ring. The heads of both organizations took what the Financial Times called the “unusual step” of “publicly voicing their scepticism of such a transaction before a deal was on the table.”

The takeover attempt by Sprint was abandoned. A new Sprint CEO will be installed, replacing Dan Hesse. We have no reason to worry about our wholesale relationship with Sprint as it makes business sense for both parties.

Would we have loved the opportunity to offer service on a GSM network (T-Mobile) with customers bringing truly unlocked phones and only needing a SIM card from us? Sure. While we’re relived that any uncertainty can be put to rest, we’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re always looking to secure better, even more inclusive deals for our customers both current and potential.

Ting customers are enjoying stronger, faster service in even more places thanks to Sprint’s network improvements. The network roll-out is continual and the roadmap is clear. As it continues, our roaming agreement with Verizon covers the increasingly occasional gaps in rural areas.

All that said, we’re an autonomous company and our services aren’t contractually tied to any single network. That’s just our way of stating, for the record, that our success isn’t tied to anyone but us.

Which is just the way we like it.

What would a Sprint-T-Mobile merger mean for Ting?

I don’t know.

But I’d hate to not acknowledge that this is a strong possibility and attempt to answer the question.

At the very best, it means a bigger, better carrier partner with more network (including both CDMA and GSM), more clout with manufacturers to get great devices sooner, more data and insight to help us understand the market and more backend functionality that we can pass along to our customers.

At the very worst, it means a change in attitude about wholesale (MVNOs, or front-end partners, like us). Although looking at these two organizations, that doesn’t seem likely.

As we’ve said, Sprint is enjoying tremendous growth in its wholesale unit. Sprint likes the margin they make on MVNOs. Sprint understands that a customer acquired by an MVNO is one that likely would have gone to Verizon or AT&T. Sprint regularly thanks us for our business and asks how they can help us do more.

T-Mobile is having a very similar experience with both innovative little partners like Solavei and Giv Mobile and retail giant partners like Walmart and Target. Wholesale fits perfectly with T-Mobile’s commitment to shake up the mobile industry and ultimately deliver greater value to customers.

A combined Sprint-T-Mobile would still be #3 behind Verizon and AT&T. There really isn’t any reason to believe that the new company wouldn’t still want us out there acquiring and saving customers for them.

But, again, back to my initial point, I don’t know. And many of you might have fresher, more objective perspectives than mine. So feel free to weigh in.

Meanwhile, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for this.


Ting customers unaffected by Heartbleed

heartbleedTing was not affected by Heartbleed. Ting uses a different version of SSL than the one that was recently discovered to be vulnerable (OpenSSL).

We originally took the view that no news was good news and decided not to add our voice to the din. The thought was that affected sites should have the loudest voice as they communicate with their customers with important steps to take to protect themselves. This was the wrong approach and we apologize. We should have communicated right away that Ting customers would be unaffected by Heartbleed.

While you should change sensitive passwords regularly and always use password best practices, there is no action required for your Ting account to remain secure at this time.

Mashable has a great list of popular sites affected by Heartbleed. If you see a site you have an account with, be sure to check said site’s official communications to find out the best course of action. You can also check out for all the gory details of this pervasive and potentially nasty bug.

If you only watch one insane thing today, make it this

If this video for the upcoming LG G Flex were reviewed by a wine critic, he or she might say it starts out weird, then erupts in with a bouquet of crazy with a final, insane finish. It attempts to drive the point that the G Flex is “the most human phone ever” by taking viewers on a magic carpet ride of madness.

Words can’t do it justice. Just give it a quick watch and we promise, the image of a crusty mouth with a gross, flossy beard, embedded into a palm, noisily chewing a forkful of cheesecake will be indelibly branded onto your brain. For good or ill. Most likely the latter.

Not sure if this is a good or a bad time to remind you that we’ll be getting the LG G Flex.

The Day We Fight Back
Protecting personal privacy online


“If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.”

We simply don’t believe that is true.

Ting and our parent company, Tucows, are pledging support for The Day We Fight Back and the larger effort to stop the wholesale online spying on digital citizens.

Use the tool on the bottom of this page to make your voice heard. Share this blog post socially using the share tool in the top right. We’ll also be donating $1 up to $10,000 total to the Electronic Frontier Foundation for each share recorded before the end of February 11, 2014: The Day We Fight Back.

The Tucows blog has a great post on why privacy is important to us and what we’re collectively doing to stand up.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere stole my 2012 brand strategy and my 1987 hair

You want to know what T-Mobile is going to say and do six months from now? Check out Ting six months ago.

Making Sense

Here’s Elliot launching Ting in February 2012:

“What people are forced to put up with from mobile service providers just doesn’t make sense. It’s too complicated, too opaque, too adversarial, too expensive and frankly too inhuman,’ said Elliot Noss, CEO of Tucows. ‘We’re changing that. Ting is a mobile service that makes sense.”

Here’s John re-launching T-Mobile in March 2013:

“This is an industry filled with ridiculously confusing contracts, limits on how much data you can use or when you can upgrade, and monthly bills that make little sense. As America’s Un-carrier, we are changing all of that and bringing common sense to wireless.”

Device Subsidies

Here’s me rejecting device subsidies in February 2012:

“When you get a subsidized or heavily subsidized device from one of the major providers and sign a long-term contract, you are absolutely paying for that device. The price, plus a significant premium, is buried in your monthly service…Please do not believe that any business (particularly one that has to offset huge marketing and network operating expenses) would ever give you a device for free.”

Here’s John revising T-Mobile’s 10+ year policy of subsidizing devices in January 2013:

“You are paying every penny for their phones. You are not getting a $99 phone. Anyone who thinks they are, come with me into the back. While you’re handcuffed, they go into your pockets and they take your money.”

ETF Reimbursement

In February 2013, we made headlines by giving away $100,000 in Ting credits to pay off early termination fees (ETFs). In September 2013, we announced our permanent policy to reimburse 25% of ETFs in the form of Ting credits. Here’s Andrew Moore-Crispin outlining our rationale for that policy:

“Early termination fees suck.”

In January 2014, John announced that he would pay out ETFs in the form of T-Mobile credits. Here’s John’s clever twist on Andrew’s commentary:

“This industry blows.”


Here’s me rocking shoulder length hair, a sweet tan and and a hot pink shirt in 1987.

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Come on, John, it’s been done.