Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tucows Launches Ting Mobile Service: You Might Ask Why

Ting is a new mobile virtual network operator launched by Tucows. You might wonder why Tucows thinks there is room in the consumer and small business markets for yet another mobile service provider.

As with many offerings these days, the value might largely be indirect, much as triple play or quadruple play offers in the broader telecom space have increased the perceived value of a sales proposition and then reduce churn as well.
Ting is marketed as a way for families and multiple-user small businesses to save money, without requiring contracts and without high overage fees. As is typical with any MVNO, Ting will not carry the full selection of devices a postpaid service provider will support.

But Ting says it wants to be a simple utility, selling consumers minutes, megabytes and texts on a fair, usage-based basis.

The Ting usage plans seem to show that users who talk and text a lot, but use mobile Internet lightly, will save the most money. Heavy Internet users might, or might not, save money. People able to take advantage of a group plan might likewise find they can save money.

It argues that device subsidies, with the required service contracts, actually are simply a form of financing made by the service provider to the end user, and that users are better off simply buying their devices, without the financing.

At the moment, Ting features Android smart phones, including the Ting also offers two feature phones, the Samsung Reclaim and Samsung M360.

Tucows seems to be pitching the plans to small business owners and families, as much as individual users. The Sprint network powers the service.

The big upside here might be for Tucows distribution partners, who now would have a mobile service to offer their business customers.

That isn’t to say there is lots of profit margin here, either for Tucows or the Tucows distributors. But mobile service is such a big part of business spending these days that a Tucows channel partner might find the mobile offering is an important sales tool and a churn reducer, more than a revenue or profit driver.

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