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Ting customers spend less

Every time a major wireless carrier piles more gigabytes onto their “family plan” or lowers the price of their “starter plan,” we get the same questions and claims.

Does Ting charge less than AT&T for 10 GB?!
I can pay less for 2 GB on T-Mobile!

Forget how much money you are wasting if you go under that 10GB on AT&T in a given month. Forget what happens to you if you go over the 2GB on T-Mobile in a given month. Forget which company you would trust when you have a problem or which company you would most want to have over for dinner.

The simple answer is this. We have over 70,000 Ting customers now and they are spending less money on their cellphone bills than anybody spends on any of the major carriers by using less.

These are iPhone and Samsung Galaxy users. They are educated, employed and banked. They love email, Facebook, podcasts and Taylor Swift videos. They have just decided that they do not want to spend $100 a month on their family phone bill. In fact, they do not want to spend $45 for a single device. So they are using Wi-Fi whenever it is available. They are preloading or turning off videos in Facebook and Instagram. They are setting up alerts just to let them know when they’ve reached certain levels every month.

Here are the results in black and white for the month of July. These are mean bills and usage levels…

july bills

(If you are an analyst or investor poking around in my conversation with regular people here, this is not data we intend to disclose regularly going forward. Don’t start building models or tracking trends. There is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about how much folks need and how much they should spend on their cellphones. I thought it would be helpful and refreshing to reveal this one very specific snapshot.)

If you simply do not want to think about your mobile usage at all, then you should absolutely enjoy the luxury of not thinking about it. We all choose items in our life where we budget and items where we splurge. I have been bringing a sandwich to work for lunch and wearing the same pair of shoes every weekday for over three years. I also take family vacations in southern France.

If you want to spend less than $25 a month on your smartphone bill, ask over 70,000 Ting customers how they do it. They tend to be happy to share and their suggestions may be surprisingly easy to implement.

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.