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Validas study and Ting savings

We engaged a company called Validas a couple of months ago to help us understand people’s mobile usage and bills. Validas has a database of over 500,000 US mobile users who give them access to their account to help figure out if they are on the wrong phone plan. Validas is able to use all that data in the aggregate (certainly not revealing anything about any individuals) to gather some amazing insights.

The study they conducted analyzed actual voice, text and data usage over 12 months of over 50,000 accounts. They measured how usage fluctuated month to month and how average usage compared to peak usage. These measures indicate how much people might be wasting from month to month if they buy a fixed or unlimited plan rather than paying for what they use. Validas was also able to take it a step further and compare what these accounts actually spent over that year to what they would have spent on Ting with that same exact usage.

In short, the study confirmed that US mobile users, from individuals and families to small and large businesses, from light users to heavy users, are wasting hundreds to thousands of dollars a year with their current plans.

In fact, 98% of US mobile phone accounts would save money on their monthly bills by switching to Ting.

Businesses with over 10 users (or lines) per account have even greater potential savings than individuals and families. Accounts with 21-50 lines have the greatest potential savings at $636.60 a year per line.

Again, the key to savings seems to be the switch from fixed and unlimited plans to Ting’s “moving” plan.

Mobile plans are commonly designed to accommodate peak usage as a consistent norm. However, the study showed that users are not so consistent. Data usage, for one, will regularly fluctuate by up to 55%. (An account that averages 1,000 megabytes a month, for example, may vary by 550 megabytes up or down in a given month.)

According to Validas, this ends up being a major theme in almost all the analyses they do. Mobile users aren’t necessarily overpaying because rates are high. It’s because their plan is not quite right for their usage. Ting is actually a great benchmark just because customers essentially pay for what they actually use.

The study also showed that mean monthly data usage tends to be just 62% of the peak. What this means is that, even on average months, mobile users are typically buying much more service than they need.

We were thrilled to see this data. It confirms that even heavy users are overspending on traditional plans because their usage varies so much from month to month. It confirms that indviduals, families and businesses of all sizes would save money with Ting.

But we have to admit that the savings numbers above still seemed understated to us. Customers are telling us every day that they were able to buy a high end smartphone with Ting, often for over $400, and recover that money in a year of savings or less. This report would suggest otherwise. So we started asking our customers about it and had a bit of an epiphany.

On their previous unlimited or bloated plans, Ting customers had unnecessarily inflated usage. They did not utilize Wi-Fi when it was available, for example, or they streamed data needlessly. They just didn’t care. When they switched to the Ting plan and started tracking their usage regularly in the Ting dashboard, even the simplest attention to these behaviors greatly reduced their usage and further reduced their bill.

So simply referencing past usage numbers, as people do with our Savings Calculator or Validas did in this report, might not tell the whole story. Part of the savings with Ting comes from our rates, part comes from a moving rather than fixed plan and part comes from decreasing usage without any real sacrifice in experience.

Overall, the message is pretty clear. People will save money with Ting. If you are reading this, you probably already know that. When you get a chance, please tell someone else.