Love your tiered plans, but not truly "pay for what you use"

You say you only charge for what I use, but really you have 3 or 4 tiers. Once in that tier, I almost by definition don't use all I have paid for. It would be even better if once in a tier, the charge is truly metered and reflects the fact that I only used 550MB of data. If I read your plans properly, I would be charged $24 for 550MB, whereas at $.024 per MB, it should only be $13.20 This is truly pay for what you use.

I understand your business model and that you probably are charged the same tiered (rather than metered) way from Sprint, but it sometimes would feel like a penalty by going only 10% into the next tier (as in the example). Here I am at the 28th of the month and I am at my data or voice limit of the plan. Do I shut the phone off for the next three days, or accept that I will pay the next tiered rate and waste 450MB of data or 300 minutes for a (small, yet not insignificant) fee.

I know it is an accounting nightmare, but if you charge by the actual usage, you could incent people to move up to get the lower rate. For instance, my first 100 minutes are $.03 per minute, my next 1400 are at $.018 per minute, the next 1000 are at $.0175, etc. Using 200 minutes would be (100*.03)+(100*.018) or $4.18. 600 minutes would be (100*.03)+(400*.018)+(100*.018)=$12.00. 1900 minutes would be (100*.03)+(400*.018)+(500*.018)+(900*.0175)=$34.95.

The alternative is to charge for whatever is used by the rate the month ends up in, so if I use 200 minutes, it is $3.60. If I use 600 minutes it is $10.80, and for 1900 minutes, it is $33.25. Instead of today you would charge me $9, $18, and $35, respectively.

These two alternatives actually incent me to use more to get into the next billing tier (okay, it is a psychological incentive instead of a savings), rather than make me paranoid about using too much.

Just an idea.

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Comments

13 comments
  • That is a good idea. Another idea will be to include more tier options in between the current tier. Or stay with the current tier but charge the minutes that they are charging for those who goes over until it reaches the next tier whichever is cheaper. 

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  • Chris,

     

    I thought of adding more tiers, but it is very confusing to the customer and is a nightmare to manage and enforce from an accounting standpoint (as is my suggestion of charging different rates throughout the month).

    Your point is, I believe, what I was saying also. If you use the amount of data/minutes/texts within a tier in a month, charge that tiered rate per unit times the number of units used. True metering.

    I am old enough to remember when phone calls were metered. There were rates based simply on the amount of time you spent talking and on the distance to the other end. Use this many minutes to this area code or exchange within an area code, and pay this rate per minute. (Of course, you had no clue what the rate was until you saw the bill, unless you asked the operator beforehand and they would call you back after the call ended with the billed amount - there was a surcharge for this of course.) These rates were not tiered based on overall usage or quantity discounts, and you couldn't negotiate your rates up front. You paid what Ma Bell said or you had service terminated.

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  • I agree, metered service would be much better.  It fits perfectly with the philosophy of Ting, being straightforward and honest with the customer.

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  • Instead of metered pricing, what about having the excess roll over to the next month?

    Abolish the the grace amount of data/texts/minutes for people just over a bucket at the same time.

    Pay for what you use?  Check.  No waste? Check.  Tiered pricing? Check.

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  • Agree with the roll over, as the "pay per go" can only contribute higher costs at the end...

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  • Don't change anything. I like it exactly the way it is.

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  • Honestly the 5% grace period is nice to see, which I haven't seen anyone mention here yet.  So if you use 1015 minutes you'd still be in the 1000 minute package.  But though I like the plans as they stand now I could see a 1500 minute plan for maybe $25 and a 1500 meg plan for $32.  Even if they're not advertised plans per say, they would be nice overflow plans for someone who uses say 1200 minutes or 1200 megs.  My usage seems to be at about that 1000 minute mark so I'm paranoid that I'll hit 28 days and be right at 1000 minutes given I'd hate to spend an extra $17 due to my mom getting long winded on a call on the 29th day pushing me over the 1000 and 5% cushion.  But for the most part the plans as they stand now will still save me monthly compared to what I pay at Verizon...

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  • Sam!  You bring back memories of my "Trash-80 mod I"

    The discussions about roll-over, added tiers, and balancing backflips has been done over and over.  It's great discussion but most people see a reduction in their monthly bill just like it is.  Ting has great support and they are providing a good service.  To change anything would feel like a gimick to someone.  I personally wish it was flat per minute cost, but I'm happy all the same.  I do not think they are going to be changing any time soon as it would hurt their business and I for one want them to thrive.  I have been using ting for almost a year now and have been very happy.  Sadly I am moving soon and I think the new location doesn't have sprint service.  That will cause me much heartache.

    Do a quick scan of the forums and you will find several health discussions on this top.  Some great ideas thrown around as well as Ting giving their answers.

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  • Keith... Yup I'm rather nostalgic when it comes to those old systems... I still own both my Coco 2 and 3, but alas neither has been powered on in probably a decade or more.

    As for Ting's plans I agree... Ting's services as they stand now work great for me, so I have no complaints.  Granted more middle-plans would help on the monthly bill, but what they have now still saves me quite abit compared to what I was paying at Verizon so I'm quite happy none the less.

    Also stinks about the lack of Sprint service in your new location, my house is kinda on the fringe, and just last night I had my first call not go through, but it went through on a second try so who knows. But Verizon is very strong out here, so worse case I can force my phone to roam and go that route.

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  • The place I am moving is huge verizon and some ATT.  Sprint is really weak.  I could roam but I assume if I roamed 100% that Sprint might get a bit upset and cause trouble.  And data wouldn't work 90+% of the time.  Gonna really stink if I have to change.

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  • I am the one that started this thread, and want to chime in again on what I like and would like to see improved. My monthly bill has been reduced to about a third of what Verizon was charging me, so I have no real complaints.

    My comment had more to do with truth in advertising than about disliking the plans. They advertise that it is "pay only for what you use" (paraphrased). Actually, I can't find any actual reference to this on their site, but I heard about Ting from TWiT and they very much push this aspect. The problem is that I don't pay for only what I use. I pay for a block of m/m/m and I get to use up to that maximum. The trouble is that once I get into the next tier, I pay for the entire block, regardless if I use it all. The extreme case is that one text may cost me $3, or leaving one voicemail could cost $17. It reminds me of the battles in the early days of cell phone and long distance. Sprint would charge by the 1/10 minute (6 sec) increments, pointing to the glaring rip-off of the other carriers who would charge for every minute regardless of when the call ended. You would pay for a full minute even if the call didn't get connected. It was airtime once you pressed the send button.

    (Side note, this is still the case, and exacerbated by the 15+ second automated message about so-and-so "is not available, please leave a message, then press # or hang up when you are done. If you would like to send a page, press 5 [who sends pages, anyway?]. If you would like to review your message, press *,... " or whatever. This is not designed to help you understand what to do, but to extend the phone call to get another minute on the bill. That bill may or may not come to you directly, but they get to charge it to the other carriers in the peering and roaming arrangements.)

    I would like to see a true metered system, where I actually pay an amount - based on my current usage profile - for only the m/m/m I actually use. I understand the billing nightmare this causes, but heck, I can dream can't I?

    Jake

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  • I don't think it's a billing nightmare at all; they (and every other carrier) already track all the info on the bills.  From what I understand reading here, the only reason Ting didn't go true pay-per-minute/MB/SMS was for marketing considerations and warm fuzzies for customers to wrap their brain around when signing up.  That is, knowing that they will fit into buckets Voice-A, MB-B, SMS-C gives people something to anchor their expectations to.

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  • Having seen the bucket-jump others are complaining about, I can start to see why pay-per-minute is really much more attractive.  In most cases it's only a $10 jump or so, but with Ting's low prices it's noticeable.

     

    Too bad they decided against it.

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