Ting lowers prices as prepaid competition heats up

Ting’s bargain-basement rates got even cheaper as the MVNO lowered prices for all but its least expensive plans amid an increasingly competitive market.

Ting maintained its $3-a-month “small” plan, which includes up to 100 MB of data but no voice or texting on a single line, which costs an additional $6 a month. But it lowered the prices of every other plan, so users pay $10 per gigabyte of data on top of the basic rate.

A 500 MB plan is now $10 a month, down from $12, and the “XL” plan with up to 2 GB of data is $20, down from $29. Those prices are for data only, and that data is pooled and can be shared across phones on a single account.

Ting offers an a la carte model through which users can mix and match specific levels of monthly voice minutes, text messages and data tiers. Users can also add lines to their account for $6 per month, per device.

The MVNO uses Sprint's network but in late 2014 added support for a GSM network, almost surely T-Mobile's. Ting said it was able to lower rates after scoring better wholesale deals with its network operator partners.

"We've been lobbying our carrier partners for a while to get better wholesale data rates. We were successful and we are immediately passing these savings on to our customers,” said Michael Goldstein, Ting’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Because minutes, messages and data are pooled and shared across all phones on an account, Ting’s pricing is unrivalled for families, businesses or any other account with more than one phone.”

Ting grew its customer base by 36 percent last year over 2014, and the number of devices increased by 37 percent. And Tucows, Ting’s parent company, posted $4.4 million in net revenue in the first quarter of 2016, up 57 percent year-over-year.

But the MVNO market has become more competitive in the last year as major carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile increasingly target prepaid users. Ting may be feeling growing pressure to fight for those users, particularly as cable companies such as Comcast prepare to wade into the MVNO waters.

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