Rollover

While I'm pretty sure that this will be shot down, I'm going to go ahead and present it as a target.

Ting maintains that they want a simple system that doesn't require you to think about how much each individual call, text, or data connection is going to cost.  They also maintain that, in so far as it complies with the above, they don't want you to pay for more than you use.

People pointing out the inconsistency of Ting's policies vs their ethos invariably point out that unless you use the entire bucket you've paid for, there is waste.  If there is any other point of contention, I've never read it.

It seems like both sides would be satisfied if Ting allowed any unused balance to roll over to the next month until used completely.  It preserves the tiered pricing / usage buckets that keeps billing simple, and it prevents any kind of waste making Ting's slogan of 'No waste, Pay for what you use" absolutely true.  Users have less reason to care if they exceed a bucket because larger buckets are better deals.  At the same time, Ting can eliminate the 5% grace since being bumped up to the next bucket is more of a savings than a penalty.

If necessary, a person could be made to pay for the XS bucket, which would be added to the rollover balance, during any month they use that feature if there is some kind of per line access charge per feature that Ting has to absorb.  Judging from what I've seen of Ting's user base, if Ting makes it clear why they have to charge for a thing, people seem to understand and accept it.

I guess what I'm saying is that rollover wouldn't have to be implemented straight, but the people at Ting might do well to consider if it can be artfully employed to satisfy the users crying foul while maintaining their ethos of simple and fair pricing.

I've mentioned this in two other threads/discussions or what-have-you.  If it sounds like I'm pounding on war drums, that's not my intention.  I'm just baffled as to why it hasn't been at least mentioned or discussed before.

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Comments

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  • Thanks Alex.

    We did look at rollover minutes as a model and decided against it. We heard from lots of people that they paid for too many minutes in one month and got to "keep them" until the next month, but then invariably they wouldn't use all their minutes that month either and they'd end up with this ever increasing pool of unused minutes.

    We're hoping people will focus on the months not the minutes and look for overall savings rather than worrying TOO much about the nuances of one form of plan vs. another.

    We won't be changing the way our plans work but I really appreciate the thought you're putting in to the subtleties of usage pricing. It's fascinating stuff.

    Cheers,

    Ken. 

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  • In my opinion being an AT&T customer roll over sounded like a great idea. Keep the minutes you don't use. However a few years later I realized that yes I was keeping the minutes that I did not used but I paid for them. So every month I paid for minutes I would probably never used. To make it worse att rollover minutes have an expiration date. Compare to AT&T with rollover I would rather have the tiered pricing ting has. I just setup alerts to let me know when I am getting close to the next tier and if I need to hop over then I just try to use the minutes I just purchased before the month is up. There are months when I just use less and pay less.

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  • Ken, Who's this Alex you're thanking?

    I had assumed from the outset that Ting wouldn't be changing their practices based on my spurious 'idea'.  Given how well it seems to meet with Ting's stated goals, though, I was hoping for a bit of explanation as to why it's not being used.  The situation described by Ken is easily surmountable by not having a customer buy more minutes until they've used the ones they've already bought.  To put it in Ting terms, you're stuck on the XS plan until you've exhausted the plan you paid for the previous month.

    Even Jose above, who comes to the defense of Ting, admits to changing his usage patterns on the basis of a transition from one bucket to the next.  The ideal would be using a cell phone the way you want without having to pause and think, "If I check my e-mail one more time, it might cost me $10 that I'll want to justify spending by excessively using about 5 times more mobile data for no particularly good reason."  (100MB of data - $3; 500MB - $13)

    Anyway, I still see Ting as the relative "good guys" of the mobile world, even if Ken seems to think my name is Alex.  I wouldn't ask a company or individual I didn't trust to explain anything to me I didn't already understand.  I am simply curious as to what makes a rigid bucket structure (with a 5% compromise) optimal, or what kind of horror allowing rollover would cause to customer or company.

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  • Heh. Not sure where the "Alex" came from. Brain fart I guess.

    If I'm understanding you correctly Dale you're saying if you pay for the minutes in a bucket, you should be able to use them all before we charge you for more buckets. I know you didn't say it that way, but I think that's what it amounts to.

    I think that's kind of mixing some of pre-paid into the Ting mix. (If you buy X minutes you get to use them all before you're charged for more). I don't think we considered that. I'm not sure it would meet our goal of keeping this as simple as we can.

    We get asked about "why have buckets at all" ALL the time. The forum is full of our responses to this question. It's the one spot where we pulled back a bit from offering the simplest option we could. And that came from talking to people about how they perceived their plans and to behavioral economists about how pricing impacts usage. The hesitation you refer to some people feeling when they're about to go over to another bucket is something people end up feeling with ALL their minutes if they know the meter is always running. The buckets are designed to ease that. It's not perfect of course as we have to have breaks at some point.

    I appreciate the discussion and I hope I've managed to get a bit closer to giving you the answer you're looking for. Or not. :)

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  • Your interpretation is spot on.

    I know you get asked about the buckets thing often enough.  Believe it or not, I did take the time to read those discussions first and I understood the rationale for the buckets as opposed to metered billing.  (At least, so I think.)  Rollover, though, hadn't been mentioned even though it seemed like a solution that would satisfy both sides by preserving the buckets and preventing 'wasted' minutes/messages/megabytes.

    On the other hand, I don't really understand either side all that well.  I have no idea what it's like to run an MVNO, and rollover isn't metered billing.  Rollover just seems like a good idea to a layman like me.  I figured that it wouldn't hurt to politely bring it up.

    "We think it might be too complicated.", "We hadn't really considered it.", and "We think people would be more anxious over how they used their minutes." are all fine answers.  If you hadn't really considered it before, maybe you will now.  If you've considered and rejected it for one of the other two reasons, then that answers my question.  I'm more interested in what you at Ting think of it than I am in having you agree to it.

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  • I like Dale's idea. I don't think it would be too complicates for customers, especially considering the junk they are coming from with the big cell companies.

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  • Just to wrap up this thread, we're not considering rollover minutes.

    Thanks for the input everyone.

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  • Would you consider them now? Or perhaps consider rolling over some fraction of the unused capacity per month? I get really frustrated with how I often use 110MB/month, meaning that I'm paying for 500MB - and if I could at least keep SOME portion of that unused capacity I'd be a lot happier (and a lot more likely to remain loyal to Ting).

    Think of it as a sort of built-in loyalty program, or a partial tier-forgiveness or something. Hell, even if you only rollover unused excess for ONE month that'd be great!

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  • Joshua,

    Ting prides itself in the simplicity of its rates while saving money for the vast majority of users. If you are not saving money, perhaps Ting is not the best choice for you.

    Ting estimates that 98% of cell phone users could save by moving to Ting. They are content to leave the remaining 2% for the other carriers.

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  • Oh, I am saving money, plenty of it. I just feel like I could be saving more. :) It's a psychology thing.

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  • Ting has to make their profit somewhere.

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  • Of course, I'm not suggesting that you guys not make any profit! I'm just suggesting ways of increasing the perceived value to the customer.

    One example of what you could do is what FreedomPop does - they actually charge a service fee for enabling rollover, something like $3/month.

    I generally use 90-100MB/month and I'm happy with the rate I'm charged for that - but I also pay very careful attention to my data usage to stay in that zone, since I'm unhappy with the relatively big jump in price that happens when I happen to use 120MB. In my case, Ting could actually make more money (on average) if I were to get, say, a flat utility price (HIGHER than the wholesale bulk rate, of course!) that allowed me to flexibly use more data than I normally do, since I wouldn't have the psychological barrier to crossing that 100MB threshold.

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  • Just to clarify, I am a Ting user just like you. I have 4 phones on Ting.

    I would like to see rollover too, but not having that is a small concession to make considering the money I save with Ting.

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  • Okay, it wasn't clear. But in case anyone at Ting is reading this, let's look at these two scenarios. (I have no idea what Ting's bulk rate pricing is but I assume it's around 1.5c/MB.)

    How it is right now: I artificially limit my data usage to 90MB/month 4 out of 5 months; the remaining 1 month I use, say, 150MB. So, over the course of 5 months, I've used 510MB. This costs Ting $7.65, and costs me $25 - Ting makes a profit of $17.35, but I feel pissy about the 150MB month and end up restricting my data usage more severely.

    But let's say Ting moves to a utility pricing or rollover model or the like.  So then I end up using, say, 150MB/month more frequently - so 750MB over the course of 5 months.  If Ting were to charge 3.5c/MB as a flat utility pricing (or charged a monthly service fee to rollover my unused MB or whatever), they'd still make just as much money, but I also wouldn't have the psychological barrier to crossing that magic 100MB threshold.  So I start using more data, and Ting makes more money, rather than them "losing" (i.e. not making as much) by me approaching the next magic 500MB threshold in an attempt to maximize my value.

    My bill for 150MB months would be lower than they are now, BUT I'd also have more 150MB months.

    Making less money over a longer period of time usually works out better than making more money in the immediate future. Investing in a strong customer relationship is a very powerful thing. Look at how well Amazon's doing for an example.

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  • Pretty much all the US carriers that were doing pure utility pricing either have moved to plan-based pricing or have ceased to exist.

    This is pretty good evidence that there is not enough consumer demand to make pure utility pricing profitable. 

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  • Pretty much all the US carriers that were doing pure utility pricing either have moved to plan-based pricing or have ceased to exist.

    This is pretty good evidence that there is not enough consumer demand to make pure utility pricing profitable. 

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  • Sure, but they could implement some sort of partial-rollover scheme (i.e. roll over 50% of it, or roll over the last month's unused capacity, possibly with a nominal fee for the privilege) and it would be effectively the same as utility pricing in terms of the impact to the customer, but with more leeway for Ting to fiddle with the pricing to make money.

    I would be willing to pay an extra $3/month for 50% rollover, for example, and with that I would end up using a lot more without paying significantly more (but Ting would make more money off of me).

    Or let's say there's a 1-month rollover, and I use 150MB/month. First month I get charged $13 for a bucket of 500MB. Next month I get charged $0 since there's 350MB left over. The month after that I get charged $13 for another bucket of 500MB. Then $0. So after four months I have paid $26 for 1GB total, and used 600MB - $6.50/month, which seems like a better deal for me than the $13/month I'd be paying otherwise. Ting still makes a lot more than if I were to limit my usage to 90MB/month and only get charged $3/month for those four months (since I'd have used 360MB and been charged a total of $12 for a total of 400MB).

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  • Hi Joshua, thanks for inquiring. We don't have an update for you. Our pricing and usage structure will remain as it is for the foreseeable future. Pricing is a very hot topic with Ting, and let's be honest, with every mobile provider in the country. We've looked at this scenario and will continue to look at what options make the most sense for both Ting and our beloved customer base.

    Changing our structure while not cutting overall revenue will help some save, but will come at the expense of others saving less. We prefer a model where we will help the most amount of customers save the most amount of money. Thank you again for the feedback, we really appreciate the two cents.

     

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  • Hello,

     

    I came to this thread hoping to find some answers.  And it was an interesting thread.

    However, I still really wanted to add my piece of mind because of the current stress I'm under with using Ting.  

     

    This is my example:  I switched from a cheap pay-as-you-go carriers after seeing how much YouTube persona, Phillip Defranco, liked his sponsorship with Ting.  I used the saving calculator and DIDN'T listen to it because I was so sure I would save money with Ting.  Many months later, it is not the case.  I'm paying 50% and often 100% more than I was before and now I feel I'm constantly walking on eggshells and checking my usage- primarily data.  I overpay rent for a tiny, cold room with no heat and needless to say I have no home internet or wifi.  So as it goes, I find myself paying ALOT more money to just be stressed out constantly about my usage and which YouTube video that is going to destroy me financially.  They only reason I've stuck with Ting this long is because how AWESOME customer service is.  Honestly, I'm impressed- especially because I'm pseudo complaining to Ting in this but it's the first time a mobile service even has this available and cares.  

     

    To wrap this up, I wish the XXL bucket of data I just purchased for going 34mb's over 2000 would roll over.  I'm afraid the truth, that I just paid for 1GB of data for no reason because my bucket will reset tomorrow?  And now I owe $80 dollars instead of $62 conveniently right before my bill.  It's really depressing.  

     

    Thanks for letting me vent.  

    Unless you didn't like my venting- then too bad.

     

    Cheers.

    Mike

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  • Hey Mike,

    Just so you know, we have a 5% grace period between all buckets (except from XS to S). This means that you can go over by 5% on the total usage of the previous tier without paying for it. The Dashboard does not reflect this but your bill will.

    I hope this takes some of the weight off!

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  • hah! 

    Oh wow!  Thanks for that information- that is a great turn of events!

    Thank you.

    Mike

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  • Not being a big "minute" user I would be more interested in data rollover. I would even be willing to pay a small monthly fee ($5 maybe) in order to rollover unused data in the bucket  I fall into in any given month.

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  • Looks like the latest comment here is a couple years old, so I'll chime in with my support for rolling over unused minutes, text, and data for the bucket I'm in, in case anything may have changed behind the scenes. :) 

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