Irish top-up pioneer helps takes the isolation out of isolation
International mobile phone top-up provider Ding is helping people around the world to keep in touch with loved ones despite the challenges of Covid-19. Ding was established in 2006, offering an innovative way to improve access to mobile telephony for billions of people around the world.
Since then its users have successfully sent 400 million top-ups globally. They have done so via its app, which is available online at Ding.com, it’s online and in-store at more than 600,000 retail outlets worldwide.
Pre-paid mobile phones – as opposed to those on contract – dominate the global mobile market, accounting for an estimated 76% of the world’s five billion mobile phones. Their number is growing faster too, but research shows that one quarter of these phones are off-line and in need of top-up at any given time.
The pandemic has seen the need to keep mobile phones topped-up become a matter of critical importance. In March, as a show of support for its customers, Ding moved to eliminate fees for one week, supporting customers to keep in touch at a particularly critical time in the disease’s progress.
Announcing the move, Ding chief executive Mark Roden said: “Many individuals and businesses will undoubtedly be negatively impacted by the spread of the virus and the quarantines being seen across the world. As a result of this, it is important for companies to do what they can to help those worst affected in these difficult times.”
From the initial need for people around the world to keep in touch with authorities and airlines in order to organise flights home, to the current and pressing need for those ‘cocooning’ in social isolation to keep in touch with friends, family and healthcare providers, people need mobile connectivity like never before.
Ding, which is headquartered in Dublin and has offices around the world including Paris, Barcelona, New Jersey, Miami, Dhaka, Bucharest, Dubai and San Salvador, is well placed to help.
The micro-transfer platform is currently delivering a top-up every second, via 600 mobile phone carriers across 140+ countries.
“What we are doing is allowing consumers to top-up either their own phone, or that of their loved one, without having to leave their homes – online, just as if they had gone into a retail store to do it,” explains Rupert Shaw, Ding’s chief commercial officer.
The company offers multiple access points for consumers, including its Ding.com website and apps for both Android and IOS. It also works with retail networks and online channels, as a business to business provider.
Many of its consumer customers are ex-pats and people working overseas. “We work with carrier partners, particularly in relation to international cross border top-ups. This could be where a worker in Dubai is sending a mobile phone top-up to someone in India, for example,” says Shaw.
“We work very closely with our partners for international transfers so that, in some cases, we alert them to operator promotions for example which might offer their customers up to 50% extra data.”
Pre-paid mobile usage continues to show faster growth than bill-pay around the world, particularly in areas such as South East Asia and Latin America. As Covid-19 spreads worldwide, it is becoming more important for people who are separated to keep in touch.
“As a company Ding has always had a social aspect it,” says Shaw. “What we do as a business is all about connecting people with friends and family, particularly the global diaspora. The pandemic has put into stark relief the fact that the need to connect with one another is greater than ever.”
As older and vulnerable people are encouraged to cocoon or self isolate in their homes, their ability to keep their phones topped-up is critical.
“Not all grandparents and perhaps parents are as tech savvy as younger generations. We offer a way to keep a loved one’s mobile phone topped-up. It’s a totally seamless experience. The credit is transferred instantaneously, without their needing to go outside to a shop. Mobile phones are a technology they are familiar with and know how to use. The recipient doesn’t have to download an app , in fact, they don’t have to do anything at all,” says Shaw.
While Ding’s Covid-19 free fee initiative is no longer live, its Access For Good programme, launched in 2018, continues its social mission.
This initiative sees it partner with charities around the world, donating money each quarter to help promote life changing issues such as education, equality and healthcare.
Right now Ding is partnering with Medecins Sans Frontiere (Doctors Without Borders). It means that every time a transaction takes place on the online platform, the company makes a donation of one cent, supporting doctors as they fight against Covid-19.
“That social element of Ding is part of culture, our DNA,” says Shaw. “But it’s also the connection piece. People like to stay in touch and, as we can all see so clearly now, when you can’t keep in touch, it has a profound impact. Your mobile phone provides that connection.”