RingPlus customers to migrate to Ting as service shuts down

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Ting Mobile is taking direct aim at customers of fellow MVNO RingPlus, which will soon be defunct.

Ting, which is operated by the publicly held Tucows, said it added more than 4,000 new accounts and 10,000 devices in its latest quarter. Ting now provides service to 245,000 devices across 151,000 accounts.

“Taking a closer look at those numbers, It was another strong quarter for devices per account, as more accounts moved beyond just one device,” Tucows CEO Elliott Noss said on an earnings call. Churn came in at 2.5 percent, Noss said, down from 2.7 percent during the prior year and from 2.8 percent in the earlier quarter.

Tucows provides mobile and fixed-line services as well as domain names. Ting uses Sprint's network but in late 2014 added support for a GSM network, almost surely T-Mobile's. 

And Ting hopes to get a big boost from the demise of RingPlus, a Sprint MVNO that will stop providing service on Saturday. RingPlus claimed 100,000 customers just a few months ago after a little more than a year in business, and 90 percent of its base were on free, ad-supported calling plans. But Sprint is reportedly pulling the plug on RingPlus, and Noss said many of those users will be moved to Ting.

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“I will also share an opportunity that materialized just in the last few days,” Noss said Tuesday afternoon on the call. “Another MVNO called RingPlus has announced that it will be shutting down its service, and we’ve reached a tentative agreement to migrate their customers to Ting. It is simply a marketing agreement, not an acquisition of any assets or resources. They had roughly 80,000 customers, most of whom were on a free plan. We do not know how many real customers this will produce after an inevitable initial exodus, but we know that it will initially inflate gross adds, churn and marketing expenses in the form of credits we’ll be providing.”

The question for Ting, Noss continued, is how many former RingPlus customers turn into paying Ting users.

“It’s very difficult to say what we will expect,” he said, “but if we get at the end of the day, you know, a year from now, there’s an extra 5,000, 6,000, 7,000 Ting customers, we’ll be quite happy with the approach.”

Tucows posted nearly $49 million in fourth-quarter revenue, up 9 percent year over year, and revenue for the full year increased 11 percent to just less than $190 million. Earnings per share of 26 cents fell shy of analysts’ expectations by 15 cents, though, according to Seeking Alpha, and quarterly revenue missed by $1.6 million.

Tucows earlier this week received a “substantial investment” from Union Squares Ventures in a deal marking the firm’s first stake in a publicly traded company.

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