Single-charge calls between phones on the same account

Trevor Talbot

There have been some discussions revolving around the idea of potentially making calls free between e.g. family members on the same account, and how that might complicate billing or end up raising costs down the road compared to charging the usage for both phones as it is now. This suggestion is a compromise between those two: charge for one phone's usage.

The idea is that when one person makes a call to another phone on the same Ting account, the caller's phone gets charged the minutes, while the receiver's phone rides free. That way the usage is being paid for, yet there doesn't appear to be a "penalty" for talking between family members on the same account. (I realize the numbers aren't quite that simple on the back end, but I leave that for you to sort out!)

I pick that method of accounting because it maximizes the amount of usage for billing purposes without being overly complicated, like trying to charge both phones half minutes, or something equally odd. Another possibility might be to add a separate "device" named Shared for accounting purposes, if that works better for people, but I suspect "charge caller phone" is the easiest option to understand.

The same approach would likely make sense for text messages, but has no meaning for data megabytes.

Comments

15 comments

  • Comment author
    Mike Beeson

    My view (as stated before) I like the current pricing structure. I personally wouldn't want to subsidize other people's calls by paying more for the service here.  In essence that is what the other carriers do and then tell you that you have free calling to other mobile phones, nights or weekends.  There is no such thing as a free lunch or free minutes.  The money has to come from someplace, either out of other customer's pockets or from Ting's bottom line. Just my 2 cents.

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  • Comment author
    Joe Mendez

    Hello Trevor,

    I agree with Mike.  Nothing is really free.

    I was paying over $200 to Sprint for 5 phones.. . This included the "free phone to mobile, nights and weekends" offering.

    After I finish moving my phones to Ting, I my bill will be around $90 less per month for the exact same usage.

    In the end, I do want Ting to stay in business and make a reasonable profit.

    For our family, their pricing structure is leaps and bounds better than Sprint's.

    Cheers! 

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  • Comment author
    Permanently deleted user

    We've discussed related ideas here on the forums before, but in the end we'd have to end up raising the prices for everyone, so the prices are staying the same for the time being.

    Thanks for the suggestion though.

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  • Comment author
    Ryan Newton

    I think what people are fundamentally confused about is that usage has far less to do with routing the call over the PSTN (that's close to free), but far more to do with utilizing a slice of spectrum on the cell tower. A call between two cell phones uses up two such slices of wireless spectrum when communicating the audio with the cell tower. It does not matter if those phones are on the same account or not, it's not any cheaper to the carrier. As such, there is no penalty being applied, the charge is simply for the use of spectrum by each phone in the call. The fact that in-network calls were free with other carriers was a very effective ploy to increase and maintain a loyal user-base among families and close friends.

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  • Comment author
    Trevor Talbot

    FWIW, I don't have a personal stake in this idea. I just mentioned it as a compromise between two sides in another thread, and it was recommended I put it here as a formal suggestion, so here it is. Don't worry about addressing me in replies :)

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  • Comment author
    Jonathan Scudder

    I second Trevor's idea.  It seems a little odd that calling those who matter most to you is actually costing you double (or for conference calls, triple) .  But, as Ryan points out, there really isn't any way around the spectrum charges.  Stupid spectrum. :)

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  • Comment author
    Mike Beeson

    Folks, let's look at the big picture.  I was with ATT for many years.  I had "free" weekends, "free" nights and roll over minutes and I could get a new phone every few years at a large discount.

    I left ATT and came to Ting, where I get none of those "freebies"  -  I even have to pay double to talk to my wife if we are both on our cell phones.   Does it make sense that I switched to Ting??

    YES.     My bill is now about 1/3 - 1/2 of what I was paying with ATT.    PLUS, I am now using 2 smartphones with data charges, with ATT I had 2 dumb phones.

    Look at the big picture, stop thinking the way the Big Cellular companies have conditioned you to think.

     I'll get of my soapbox now,

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  • Comment author
    chepe morales

    At first I was wondering about ting to ting calls, but after thinking about it for a while, my phone bill is easily half of what I was paying with AT&T and my calling habits haven't changed.  So I am more than happy paying double mins to talk to my wife.

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  • Comment author
    Trevor Talbot

    This situation actually isn't a case of being conditioned by Big Cellular; it's a case of technical details breaking an abstraction set up by specific language. There are two key concepts involved here: one account for multiple phones, and shared minutes for multiple phones.

    Having a single account means that one person receives the bill and owns the usage. This would just be a convenience for business scenarios instead of anything broadly useful, were it not for the second concept, sharing of the purchased resource pool among phones on the same account. When one person creates an account with multiple phones, there's the expectation that they're getting a better deal than they would with multiple accounts because of this sharing.

    However, when two phones on the same account talk to each other, that breaks both concepts. Instead of sharing the minutes like they're supposed to, the greedy little bastards are each sucking them up at full speed. And to top it off, the single owner is being charged twice for usage in his one account. This makes no sense, because it does not match the expectations set up by the language used to describe the concept ("sharing" and a single owner).

    It's only when the technical details are explained that the reality makes sense, but that's like getting hit with fine print.

    (Again, this doesn't affect me personally. I'm just pointing out that expecting this is not a result of faulty thinking.)

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  • Comment author
    Gustave Gerhardt

    The solution, of course, is to avoid answering the phone when your wife calls.

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  • Comment author
    Mike Beeson

    What is far worse is if you accidentally place a three way call with your wife and your girlfriend. Think of how fast that would add up $$$$

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  • Comment author
    Joe Mendez

    Mike,

    Thanks for my best laugh of the day with your "What is far worse. . . " 

    That is hilarious!

    Thanks ! ! ! 

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  • Comment author
    Iris Ailin-Pyzik

    Mike, is that a sin tax?

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  • Comment author
    Mike Beeson

    Iris, we could perhaps debate the sin component but it would certainly fall under the stupid tax. Probably would also qualify for penalties and a big fine  :)

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  • Comment author
    Iris Ailin-Pyzik

    Mike, if there were a stupidity tax, there would be a significant portion of the population essentially permanently broke.  Maybe so broke they couldn't afford to put gas in their cars - which would make my trip to work an awful lot easier and safer.  I can dream, can't I?

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