Home - , , - RingPlus Plans To Fix Latency and Call Quality Issues With a Custom Android Dialer

RingPlus Plans To Fix Latency and Call Quality Issues With a Custom Android Dialer

RingPlus CEO Karl Seelig
RingPlus CEO Karl Seelig did an hour long Q&A session on the RingPlus forum yesterday. You read the whole thing here. This post is my high level summary of Karl's remarks

RingPlus is getting ready to make major changes to its core technology. Currently on most RingPlus plans, calls are routed through RingPlus servers which inject audio advertisements ("Ring Plus Radio") in place of the normal ringing (aka ringback) tone when placing a call. The servers also provide a number of value added services like call blocking, voicemail to email transcription and real time language translation.  The ads partially subsidize RingPlus service and allow RingPlus to offer "free" call phone service with no monthly recurring charges. Free is in quotes because most of the free plans require an initial funds top-up and sometimes an activation fee.

The problem:

Unfortunately the RingPlus servers introduce voice latency or lag and have also been blamed for call quality issues and for a number of call outages. As a solution to the latency and other calling issues, RingPlus introduced so-called "Mad" plans several months ago where calls are handled entirely by Sprint without ads or any value added services. Without the ability to monetize with ads, the Mad plans are mostly paid plans and the free Mad plans typically include fewer minutes and less data than RingPlus legacy plans.

The solution:

RingPlus is in the process of developing a new call architecture where calls will be routed directly to Sprint, but users will be required to use a custom Android dialer app. The dialer app will download ads once a day over Wi-Fi or cellular and play back the ads in place of ring back tones when a call is made. There will also be a RingPlus VoIP dialer app for iOS and Android.  The VoIP dialer will let customers with iPhones use the new dialer-powered free plans. Android users can also use the VoIP dialer, which will support calls over Wi-Fi or cellular if they wish.

The new dialer apps will be available in approximately one to three months. While the dialers are being developed, RingPlus will offer only Mad plans to new customers and current customers adding lines or switching plans. Some of the Mad plans, especially the free ones, will be sold under the condition that customers on those plans will be required to switch to one of the dialers sometime after they are released.

What does this mean for current RingPlus users:

There will be no immediate changes for customers on existing plans. RingPlus says they have no current plans to force users on existing plans to the new dialer based ones. Obviously that can change in the future. Reading between the lines, I get the feeling that eventually all free plan users will be forced to switch to one of the new dialer based plans. There are no dialer apps for feature phones so feature phone users will need to use paid plans that do not require a dialer.

Throttling on Surfing plans:

Karl also addressed throttling on the "Surfing" plans that RingPlus offered for a short time.  The Surfing Plans were billed as a research project to study ways of reducing data consumption "without the cell phone user really noticing it" using techniques like data compression and throttling certain types of data. Recently customers on Surfing plans have been noticing and complaining that all of their data is being throttled to about 256 Kbps.

According to Karl;
The technology used in the Surfing project with our carrier partner had unforeseeable latency and other complications. This has caused a substantial delay in the Surfing project and monetization of Surfing data. Other side effects include slower data speed than expected and data outages at times. As a result, we are changing the underlying system. During this system change, I recommend Members with Surfing Plans switch to alternative plans that we will be offering this week. As you can see, the Relaxed Plan has always been available to Members on the Surfing 1 plan as a safety net. Similar Relaxed Plans will be offered to all Surfing data plans. All Members will be able to change back to the old plan after our new technology is established. The speed of implementation is not under the sole control of RingPlus, therefore, we estimate a 2-3 month process. 
My take on Karl's statement is that the technology behind the Surfing plans didn't work out, so RingPlus is throttling the data on those plans to encourage users to switch to non-Surfing plans.

Image: Twitter

25 comments:

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  1. "The new dialer apps will be available in approximately one to three months. While the dialers are being developed, RingPlus will offer only Mad plans to new customers and current customers adding lines or switching plans. Some of the Mad plans, especially the free ones, will be sold under the condition that customers on those plans will be required to switch to one of the dialers sometime after they are released."

    So you roll a service out without the main component already tested?

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  2. This is crap. I am being throttled as well.

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  3. Just throw up Sprint network and no free services. People ruined by free services.

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    Replies
    1. The throw up Sprint network? This is the first time people have equated it with vomit on this bulletin board.

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    2. Dennis so the mad 4 is it free or you pay every month?

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    3. On Mad 4, the first month is "free", but there's a $25 top up. Starting with the second month it's $27.99 + tax per month.

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  4. I'm on Mad Surfing BBQ Brisket Upgrade plan and I'm throttled. I think Inwould rather wait than trust that ringplus will let me change it back if I switch to Relaxed plan.

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    Replies
    1. Once you switch to the Relaxed Plan there is no going back and that has always been the case with Ring Plus.

      What will be interesting to hear is whether or not these Relaxed plans that are to reappear for the "surfing plans" will include the new dialer requirement?

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  5. I ported from RingPlus to TPO yesterday. Yes, their free plans are so attractive, but I cannot trust company anymore. Especially they shut down for adding new plans for week? No way!

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  6. this dialer is vaporware. this is only an announcement of something that is not even developed at all yet. R+ may change its mind AGAIN. R+ always publicly hints and teases about some upcoming thing and the chances are 50/50 that they follow through. expect something really kludgely if it ever comes out. and expect a lot of complaints if R+ really follows through on this dialer savior. this extra dialer could end up being a complicated gotcha roadblock obstacle to the simplicity that making calls should instead be. and expect hackers to attack this dialer with R+ putting out buggy update after buggy update that impacts user experience.

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    Replies
    1. Saying that replacing a dialer will fix major network problems is like saying that replacing your doorknob will paint the walls in your house.

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  7. the current R+ RBT network is a failure since R+ is going to an app as a stopgap measure before they can even see if they can shove their RBT into VoLTE and there is no guarantee that will work. R+ is a work in progress that is falling apart as it smashes against brickwall after brickwall of obstacles that they could not overcome. R+ said it found the problem that caused the latency but were then slapped down when R+ had to resort to the ugly stopgap measure of somehow now suddenly programming a dialer app. R+ is not an app company. good luck with coming up with that dialer app. expect awful version 0.1 problems and version 1.0 problems with customers complaining about failed calls. R+ is now no longer unique but is becoming a has been that is jumping as a newbie into the dialer app business competing with all the other calling apps.

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  8. In similar news, T-Mobile promised to roll out Android wallpaper which will make their network coverage match that of Verizon.

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  9. I am on hot pastrami sandwich plan and not a surfing data plan and my data is still throttle ringplus is not telling you that they throttle data regardless if you're on or not on a surfing plan .

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  10. After over a year of claiming that their RBT server didn't introduce any lag they changed their story. I had almost 2 seconds round trip lag, but R+ insisted the lag didn't exist.

    I paid $38 x 4 to upgrade all my family's lines to mad surfing bbq brisket. For the first time in over a year I'm finally happy with the voice quality. I have noticed a difference in surfing data compared to regular data, but it's still tolerable for free. Hopefully this new system won't destroy what is finally a mostly usable service.

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    Replies
    1. How is your data? My is pretty much gone. And they want me to pay more. Ridiculous.

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    2. I am not OP Rishi but I just checked on two R+ phones we have, one 3G only (moto g 1st gen) and one LTE 4G (moto e) and data speeds seem normal, video streams fine. Both are on the "legacy" (latency) RBT system not mad or surfing plans

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    3. Still in the 1 Mbps range, so still usable for now. But from the comments on here there's no guarantee how usable it'll be tomorrow or the day after...

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    4. I'm getting 0.4 Mbps down and 0.3 up on Ringplus right now.

      But that's typical terrible Sprint performance, only one bar of service.

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    5. I'm getting 1 Mbps on a Moto E on RingPlus using band 25 (1900 Mhz) and a legacy (not surfing) plan.
      My FreedomPop CDMA Galaxy S6 at the same location got 2.5 Mbps also on b25.

      1 Mbps is fast enough for what I use the phone for (mostly web and emails). I don't know if the slower speed on RingPlus is mild throttling or just sample variation.

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  11. I was on Surfing Reuben Plan. The data was being throttled. It was pretty useless. I was unable to download any appss update and couldn't open Google Play store. DL speed was 0.14 MBps. I downgraded my plan to Relaxed 3.0. The speed was back to normal. (38 Mbps DL)

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  12. Sprint's network is so slow that throttling me to 256 Kbps would actually represent an improvement in speed.

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  13. I have the moon shadow plan and boy is it slow.it is at 0.11 mbps. so slow.you cant use it for anything. you can set it to LTE and 3g. it is the same.SLOW

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  14. I switched from Surfing 1.0, where I was being throttled to only 220-320 kbps down and 240-360 kbps up. Slower than 3G speeds on my other R+ line.

    Now I have Relaxed 3.0 and am getting throttled to 1.15-3.26 mbps down and 2.08-2.88 up. Typical is 2 mpbs down and up. Much better, fine for free, but still nowhere near full speed LTE in my location.

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