Plan buckets based on $ increase

Rather than using simple round numbers to determine the buckets you guys offer in your plans, you should set the bucket increments based on the amount of money it will increase your bill by going into the next bucket.  For me, I'd rather see increments of $5.  So rather than a bucket of minutes that goes from 500 to 1000 ($9), I'd like to know that if I go over my usual minutes that I'm only paying $5 more. This gets even more ridiculous around the $1000 minute mark.  We estimate our usage (new user here) will be right around 1000 minutes.  The difference in our monthly bill from crossing that mark will be $17!  That's the difference between making Ting a great deal and just about the same price as other carriers.

So make your buckets for minutes (and texts, data) a certain amount of minutes for $5, $10, $15, etc.  Sure, you can round the number of minutes to the nearest multiple of 10 or 100 or whatever.  The point is, while the number of minutes that defines each bucket may be harder to remember, I will have the peace of mind of knowing that if I ever go beyond my normal usage amount that my bill will likely only go up $5.

Thanks.

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Comments

11 comments
  • A LOT of analysis was put into our current offering, and we will carefully assess any changes. We are open to considering anything, but often times there are very good reasons we do things the way we do. Having said that, things are always changing, and hearing from our users is really important to us! 

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  • I know you put a lot of thought into it, and I think the buckets are a better idea than metered billing.  You could even implement the basic premise of this idea without changing your current buckets very much.  The basic premise is that buckets are defined by the dollar amount increase over the previous bucket, not the number of minutes increased.  What is most important to a user when the think they might be crossing over to the next bucket?  It's not the number of additional minutes they are going to get, it's the amount of money their bill is going to increase.  Making that $ increase more predictable is what I think is most important.

    Here is an example bucket progression:

    1. $5 = 150 minutes

    2. $10 = 550 minutes

    3. $20 = 1,200 minutes

    4. $30 = 1,700 minutes

    etc.

    Thanks for your consideration.

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  • That's interesting Aaron. We didn't think of that.

    You can make a list just like you did for our current buckets of course. The difference is that we didn't include "even steps" in the price increases. The size of the buckets "sort of" has logic to it but they're not exact steps.

    We're probably too far down the road to rejig the way the buckets work though. Where were you a year ago! :)

    Thanks for the input and for going another round.

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  • Aaron's idea is much better than getting slammed with 17 dollars in overages.

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  • I found this thread when someone replied to my post on howard fourms here:

    http://www.howardforums.com/showthread.php/1784175-How-does-Ting-billing-work-exactly?p=14997775#post14997775

    As I explain in my post, the problem is that ting's buckets are back-loaded. If you need just a little more service, you have to pay for a lot more than you need. You should be able to combine any of the buckets in any combination, in order to come up with the lowest price [i. e. -- if you use 550 minutes, you should be able to pay $12 for a $9 bucket of 500 mins plus a $3 bucket of 100 mins, 50 of which you don't need; instead of having to pay $18 for a bucket of 1000 mins, 450 of which you don't need. In this example, the price per minute starts out at $0.018 (at the 500 minute bucket rate of $9/500) and rises to $0.033 (the actual price per minute of $18/550), which is an unfair penalty for giving ting more of your business].

    Both voice and data have this same pricing problem. Texting is priced more or less fairly for those who send 6000 or fewer texts per month, as the pricing increments are all roughly the same as the initial $3 bucket. However those who go over 6000 texts per month -- possible when shared between multiple lines -- are rewarded by having their per text rate go up from $0.015 to $0.025.

    This kind of pricing discourages use by those who have signed up, and discourages signup by those who are looking for a better option than going directly with one of the big four. I don't see how ting can be competitive with a pricing model which is engineered to pay off big when people buy buckets of services they don't end up using. It's generally not as bad as the $.45/min the big guys charge for "overage," but it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the consumer.

    After a lot of research, I ended up signing up with a different carrier, which should work better for my use habits -- I'm trying it out now and will port my long time att number when I'm confident I've made the right choice. However since I found this thread, I thought I'd add my two cents to it, as I like the idea of ting (a more-or-less postpaid experience with great customer service at more-or-less prepaid prices) and I hope it survives.

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  • If you guys ever do change your pricing, you should consider having customers buy an initial bucket of minutes then charging a per extra minute rate which decreases as they reach tiers of use. For example: the entry fee for those who use the phone for voice could be an initial bucket of 100 minutes for $3, then $0.03 per minute for the next 100 minutes, then $0.02 per minute for the next 1300 minutes, and $0.015 for additional minutes. The example is roughly based on your current voice pricing. It's a little front-loaded, though not painfully so for light users, but I didn't try to take into account the difference in profit from those who pay for, but barely dip into the next higher bucket. This kind of pricing would encourage use and enable people to do so without worrying about paying significantly more than they planned. Also, psychologically, $0.02 per minute is a great rate (perhaps the cheapest prepaid per minute rate in the country?) which could attract many customers, especially if you push byosd, now that you have it.

    One of the reasons people leave postpaid is because they don't want to worry about getting screwed on overages. If customers know that additional use won't cost them more per unit, they won't worry about using more, especially when they're paying by the minute and not by the bucket.

    P. S -- I'm not sure why the paragraphs disappeared in my first post.

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  • One more thing: while I was writing my last post, hofo created a new ting forum! Thought you'd like to know.

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  • The basic problem here is NOT whether buckets are "minutes" or buckets are "dollars", the problem is that there is an enormous jump from 1000 minutes to 2000 minutes, and the price (or penalty, if you will) for going over 1000 minutes by even just a little is significant ($17).

    Ting's attraction for me and I think for many people is fair, simple pricing.  This has worked for me so far ( I say that because my monthly minutes have been in the 600/700/800 range) but some day I am going to be on the phone at the end of my billing period and I'll be up around 970 minutes, and I'll be talking to my brother who takes care of my elderly mom, and I will just be so nervous about that HUGE jump from 1000 minutes to 2000 minutes so the extra 10 or 20 minutes I am on the phone with my brother will cost me $17. What do I do, say "this is important, but can we talk tomorrow?"

    So my suggestion is just add another bucket at 1500 minutes, and make the jump from 1000 to 1500 from $18 to $27.  I can live with an extra $9 if I go over.  $17 is a spanking (especially since Ting people by definition watch their dollars)

    THANKS!!!!

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  • Barry, I understand your concern.  On the other hand, Ting developed their "bucket pricing" based on those charges.  If you start adding buckets, then the smaller buckets would have to increase in price because Ting would loose the additional income they make on your "lost" minutes.  

     

    The way I look at it, I was paying ATT about $100.00 a month (with taxes) for two dumb phones (no data). With Ting, I am now averaging $40.00 a month for two smart phones with data.  If I did roll over to the next bucket my bill would still be less than $50.00, which is half what I was paying ATT, with more features.  And yes, I do watch my minutes, texts and data used and sometimes vary my usage to keep it from going over to the next bucket. I try to watch it through the month and keep it within my comfortable limits.  The Ting Dashboard is great to keep an eye on your usage.

     

    It just depends on how you look at it.  I think I may be looking at the bigger picture.

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  • Excuse my math...  my bill with the additional minutes would be less than $60.00 a month.  60% of my ATT bill.

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  • I need maybe 200 more minutes past the 1000 minutes but that's not an option which is inconvenient. That 18$ brings my bill up to a similar price to that of a well known provider. I'd get unlimited talk and text, along with data, all for the same price. But I don't want to pay 60+$ a month, I want to pay less than 40$, but that isnt going to happen with how your system's tiers are currently. Since I'm not seeing a benefit to staying with this company, I'm thinking of looking at a different company. I'm patient if you're going to change it but if your reply is like the last reply, I'll have to shopping.

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