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Ting has eliminated plans

We have made a change to Ting today that is simultaneously huge and completely insignificant.

From now on, Ting customers will no longer pick plans for voice, text and data. You will simply pay for what you ended up using. I think an example is the easiest way to explain this clearly.

Before today, you might have picked, for example, the Medium plan for everything. At the beginning of the pay period, you would pay us $9 for voice, $5 for texts and $13 for data. Then say, for example, you actually used Large for voice, Medium for text and Small for data. We would reconcile at the end of the pay period. So you would owe us $9 for voice and we would owe you $10 for data. So you would pay $27 upfront and then we would give you back $1. Then you would pay us $27 again for the next pay period.

Now, in that same example, you will pay nothing upfront and would simply pay $26 at the end of the pay period for your actual usage (L for voice, M for text and S for data).

There is no change to the $6 monthly fee per active device or any of the surcharges.

For anyone paying very close attention we have marked this monumental occasion by changing “Plans” to “Rates” in our top nav.

Why do I call this insignificant? Because in the end, there is absolutely no change to what you are paying. In fact, if you have been picking XS for all your plans, this is exactly the same. You were way ahead of us.

So why are we doing this? I can think of three good reasons:

#1

The whole “pick a plan” and “reconcile” approach was unnecessarily confusing. We found ourselves spending way too much time explaining it to people who were considering Ting and people who were looking at their bill. We spent way too much time saying things like “well, you pick a plan but it doesn’t really matter what you pick.” We thought we were rightly conforming to an industry convention (plans) and that people would find it comforting. It sounded sort of exciting when people talked about how Ting “credits you back” at the end of the month. But we realized that we could strip away a whole layer of process, for you and us, and lose nothing.

#2

It just looked and smelled too much like the sort of games the whole industry plays with rollover this and “unlimited but not really” that. In this case, again, there wasn’t anything hidden up our sleeve. The numbers ended up right where they belonged. But you have made your way to Ting through a maze of telco smoke and mirrors. We would hate for even a moment to look like we’re doing the same stuff.

#3

We were holding your money all month. Why not let you hold your money? To me, it’s just like taxes. When I get a big refund, my first thought is, “Hey, I got a big refund!.” My second thought is, “Hey, why was I overpaying taxes all year long?!” Now, to be clear, once you get going, your cashflow likely won’t be different. If you tended to exceed your chosen plan, then you owed us money at the end of the month. If you fell short of your chosen plan, we owed you money. Regardless, you’ll still be paying every month and your total over any aggregate of months will be exactly the same. But in principle, it makes so much more sense for you to keep your money and pay us when you know exactly how much you bought.

So, nothing then. Today, announcing nothing! Come and get it.

Now there is a bit of weirdness in the first month as we roll this out. Stick with me here. If you are an active Ting customer, you are in the middle of a payment period. You have already paid us for your chosen plan at the beginning of your period. So, on your next bill, we will simply reconcile with you for that period. That means you could owe us a bit or we could owe you a bit. But, as per the new system, you will not be charged for the upcoming period. Now you will wait and pay next month for what you used. So, that just means you will likely have a next bill that is somewhere between negative and small. (Remember don’t freak out and start spending money. You haven’t actually saved anything here!)

For what it’s worth, that also means we’re pushing a lot of our revenue back a month. We’ll catch up, but I still think it’s a nice indication how important this sort of thing is to us.

I hope this is all clear to people. If you have questions, please let us know. Ultimately, I hope you appreciate this change as just another effort to bring simplicity, honesty and clarity to mobile.

 

A new AT&T fee and a new Ting service

There has been a lot of discussion about AT&T’s new “Mobility Administrative Fee”.

As the Verge article reports, AT&T claims the fee will “help cover certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance.” We thought that was pretty much what the rest of their revenue was for.

It will cost each AT&T customer just an extra 61 cents a month. However, it will earn AT&T around half a billion dollars a year. More importantly, no matter what legal language lurks in some clause or qualifier somewhere, it seems pretty clear that this represents a change to the original financial terms that AT&T agreed to with these customers.

On the positive side, AT&T customers are apparently using this fee as justification to get out of their contract without an early termination fee. One Reddit member walked through exactly how to get that done.

But most people either aren’t comfortable with this sort of confrontation or don’t have the time and energy for such a long, miserable phone call.

This gave us an idea along the lines of our Ting for business valet and our personal shopping service.

What if we offered this as a free service? Give us all the relevant information on your account, give us permission to represent you (if there is such a thing) and we will get you out of your AT&T contract. We’ll do the screaming. We’ll figure out exactly the right words to say, whom to ask for and all that.

We’d offer it as a sort of public service with no commitment to come to Ting!

We need to figure out if this can work. Can someone other than the AT&T customer negotiate this. Is there some handoff that needs to happen or permission that can be granted. Will we have consistent success.

Updated: We have a ton of people who have volunteered to let us scream at AT&T for them. Thanks! We do not want to take on any more until we know whether we have a viable service to offer here.

If it works, we’ve got about 70 million potential new customers.

Device Update: HTC One and Galaxy S4 shipping times, new SIIs and refurb Airaves inbound

It’s been a little while since our last device update. The irony is, we’ve been too busy working to update our device lineup to offer a proper device update. Last week, we added the HTC One to the Ting lineup. More recently, we added the Samsung Galaxy S4 to the mix. There’s more in the pipe.

HTC One

When we added the HTC One to the Ting device page, we set the ships-in time to two to three weeks. We hoped to hit the earlier estimate but unfortunately, forces outside our control conspired to make that unrealistic.

That said, HTC One devices will start leaving the warehouse today. If you were among the first about 50% of pre-orders, you’ll see a shipment notice hit the inbox of the email address we have on file when it’s loaded and on its way to you. The remaining pre-orders (and new orders) will be fulfilled throughout this week. After the pre-orders are shipped, the HTC One will be available to buy now, shipping the same business day.

For an estimation on shipping times to your neck of the woods, check out this article on the Ting blog. While it’s holiday themed, the shipping estimates stand up.

Samsung Galaxy S4

We recently added the latest in the Samsung Galaxy S family to the Ting lineup. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is available now in black or white at $596.

The first of our Galaxy S4 stock arrived and will be leaving the warehouse, on its way to pre-orderers, first thing tomorrow morning. Once pre-orders are shipped, the S4 will be available to buy now, shipping the same business day.

Samsung Galaxy SII

Next week, we’ll be adding the Samsung Galaxy SII 4G Titanium to the Ting devices page at around $250 brand new. The SII is a great mid-range device. While it’s been overshadowed by the latest in the Samsung Galaxy line, the S4, and it’s less than half the price, it’s not fair to say the SII is half the smartphone.

Galaxy SIIs seem to hold their value as used devices; we’ve seen used SIIs selling for more than the price we’re able to offer them up brand new.

Airave

In the last Device Update, we mentioned that some Airave devices can be brought over to Ting. It is only the more recent (version 2.0 or 2.5) Airvana Airave devices that can be activated. Samsung Airave devices cannot make the move at all. Airave devices made prior to 2009 (Samsung devices) are being decommissioned as of August 1, 2013 and will not work after this date.

A quick eBay search confirms that the listings are awash in Airave devices that will be decommissioned soon. As always it’s buyer beware when dealing in the used market.

How do I know if my Airave can make the move to Ting?

The simplest means of checking to see if an Airave can move to Ting is to check the MAC address. You’ll find the MAC address on a sticker on the device. It’s a string of six sets of two hex characters (xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx). If the first five characters of the MAC address are 00-05-B, it should be good to go. Give us a call and we’ll help you make the move. Otherwise, it’s likely among those that will be decomissioned as of August 1, 2013.

If you’re looking to buy a used Airave, make sure you ask the seller for a picture of the MAC address sticker before you buy!

We hope to add a refurbished Airave to the Ting device lineup in the next couple of weeks, in part to alleviate the possibility of confusion from the used Airave devices currently available for sale.

Windows Phone

We’re still on track to offer Windows Phone devices from Samsung and HTC in late June early July. There’s not a great deal more to say on the subject except that you might want to sign up for our Device Alert emails (bottom of this page, “Get Email Updates”) to ensure you get the latest device news as it hits.

iPhone

No specific news to report on the iPhone front. We do appreciate everyone that’s signed up for iPhone alerts on the Ting new devices page. It will help us as we continue to make our case. People that have signed up for iPhone alerts will be the very first to know when we are able to offer the iPhone, for sale and / or as a Bring your Device to Ting-eligible phone.

We don’t expect we’ll get a great deal of notice in advance of the iPhone’s arrival. That’s a big part of the reason we’re trying to lay the ground work ahead of time.

Afraid we can’t offer much more insight than that. If we had details, you know we’d share ’em!

Win an HTC One + $150 in Ting credit!
Successfully refer a friend to Ting to enter

We’re giving away an HTC One plus $150 in Ting credit to go along with it to one lucky winner. All you have to do to be eligible to win is refer friends to Ting!

The winner will be decided in a random draw from all entries received by May 31 at 11:59pm ET. There are a couple of ways to enter:

  • Refer friends to Ting: You’ll receive five entries in the HTC One draw for each friend that completes the referral process before 11:59pm on May 31, 2013.
  • Publicly share our post on Facebook and you’ll receive one entry in the HTC One draw.

You can earn as many entries as you like. For example, share our Facebook post and successfully refer three friends you’ll have 16 entries in the random draw.

What’s more, if our Facebook post reaches 1,000 shares, we’ll add another prize pack to the mix: Another HTC One and $150 in Ting credit to go along with it.

Our Refer a Friend offering is already pretty compelling (if we do say so ourselves). You offer friends $25 off a Ting device or as Ting credit by sharing your unique referral URL. You in turn get $50 in Ting credit for your first ever successful referral and $25 for each subsequent referral. In other words, even if you don’t win the HTC One and the extra $150, you’re still well ahead of the game when you refer friends.

As always, you can refer as many people as you like and stack credits on your credits.

FAQ

Do I still receive the $50 / $25 credit for referring friends?

Yes, absolutely. You’ll still receive $50 in Ting credit for your first ever successful referral and $25 for each subsequent referral. This HTC One plus $150 in Ting credit give-away is an addition to the existing Refer a Friend program as opposed to a replacement.

Where do I find my referral URL?

Log in to your Ting account and click on Referrals in the navigation bar. You’ll see your unique referral URL on this page and can share it via social media or email.

What constitutes a successful referral?

A successful referral is when a person uses your unique referral code to activate a device on Ting, thus becoming a Ting customer.

When should I refer friends?

Successful referrals made after 12:01am ET on May 15, 2013 and before May 31 at 11:59pm ET are eligible. Make sure your friends complete the referral process and activate a device using your unique referral code before the promotion period ends.

When will the winner be announced?

We’ll contact and announce the winner on June 4, 2013.

What do the people I refer receive?

When someone comes to Ting using your unique referral URL, they’ll receive a $25 discount on many Ting devices. If your friend is bringing their own device or buying used, they’ll receive $25 credit toward Ting service instead.

Once they’re a Ting customer, your friends can refer their friends and receive Refer a Friend credit as well as entries into the HTC One draw.

Do people I refer have to buy a device from Ting?

Not necessarily. They’ll need a Ting ready device to activate, but that could be a device they bring over to Ting or a device purchased used whether from us elsewhere.

What if I already bought or pre-ordered an HTC One from Ting and I win?

No problem. We’ll refund your purchase and issue your $150 Ting credit.

My friend didn’t use my referral code! What can I do?

Nothing I’m afraid. The only way we have to track and attribute referrals to your account is by people actually using your referral code. Make sure you tell your friends to use your referral code when they purchase and / or activate a device with Ting.

Samsung Galaxy S4 in the flesh polycarbonate

Recently we received the first of several Samsung Galaxy S4s for the Ting help desk and test lab. Yesterday, we asked the Ting Facebook community what they’d like us to demonstrate in video form.

Samsung Galaxy S II, S III and S4 compared

First, we took a look at the physical differences between and evolution of the Galaxy line of devices.

New features and the camera on the Samsung Galaxy S4

The Samsung Galaxy S4 carries over some of the useful S- features from previous devices and introduces a several new ones.

The camera app on the Samsung Galaxy S4 has been very much overhauled too and includes a veritable cornucopia (always wanted to say that) of new features and additions.

Subscribe to the Ting channel on YouTube to get the latest video updates as they hit. If you’ve got any video requests, things you’d like to see on the Samsung Galaxy S4 juse let us know and we’ll do our best to get a video for you.

Device Update: Device Update: Less sizzle, more service

Spring is in the air. Other weather-related small talk.

That’s enough of that. Device update time!

First order of business: The HTC One is available on the Ting devices page for pre-order. The Samsung Galaxy S4 will follow in short order; barring circumstances beyond our control, it should appear on the Ting devices page early next week.

While we initially stated “ships in two to three weeks” for the HTC One, it looks likely that we’ll be able to meet the low end of that estimate for everyone that pre-ordered: Supply chain willing, we hope to begin shipping out HTC Ones as soon as late next week.

Samsung Galaxy SIII sale

The 16GB Samsung Galaxy SIII is on sale for $450 ($79 off the original ask). Now, it’s joined by the 32 GB Samsung Galaxy SIII at $497, $82 off.

While it’s about to be outshone by the Samsung Galaxy S4 (which also bucks the Roman numeral versioning system) the SIII is still a powerful and very capable smartphone.

Other devices returning to the Ting lineup

We’re adding a bunch of devices back into the Ting lineup. We

Samsung M400

A simple and accessible flip feature phone, the M400 is perfect for the elder set or really, for anyone looking for a simple, no-frills flip phone.

Samsung Array

Perfect for the heavy-texting set, the Array is a feature phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. A good entry point for kids as they can’t “accidentally” watch 18 hours of YouTube videos while on a family road trip and push your usage to strange new levels.

Samsung Galaxy Victory

I personally like this device. It’s the entry-level LTE device on Ting and offers a great balance of price and performance. You don’t hear a lot about this one because it’s not as exciting as one of the top-tier superphones. It is, however, a very capable smartphone running ICS.

Airave

If you find yourself in a mobile deadzone but you still want to take advantage of the mobile savings that Ting offers, this is the device you need.

In addition to adding the Airave back to our devices listing, we’re also now able to bring over SOME Airaves purchased used. UPDATE: Only Airvana Airave devices, version 2.0 or 2.5 with a MAC address that begins with 00:05:B can be brought to Ting. Samsung Airave devices are being decommissioned by on August 1, 2013 and will no longer work after that date.

Snag a used Airvana Airave for a good price (make sure you as the seller for a picture of the MAC address sticker to ensure it can make the move). Email us with your Airave’s MAC address or give us a call and we’ll help you get it up and running with Ting.

That’s it for now. Follow Ting Device Alerts here on the Ting blog and / or sign up for Ting Device Alert emails. Just look for “Get Email Updates” in your Ting account dashboard or in the bottom right of the Ting homepage.