Telecommunications –Buying the Right Mix of Services
What are bundles?
Bundles include a mix of mobile; fixed line and broadband services. Having a bundle will in most cases require you to sign a contract for at least a year; or perhaps longer. Breaking a contract if you subsequently find that the service is not suitable or does not really give you what you wanted, may be expensive. In this article we consider only bundles associated with contracts and not Pay As You Go offers, which will be considered separately.
The main bundle types include:
• Mobile Bundles
• Mobile Smartphone Bundles
• Fixed Line Bundles
• Multi-Service Bundles
Telecommunications providers regularly review products and update information. It is imperative that you consider carefully the correct package for you, check prices carefully keep abreast of Terms and Conditions; ask your supplier for direct web based links to the information, especially any relevant small print.
What types of bundles are offered?
All mobile networks offer a number of bundles to suit users with different needs. Some users have simple mobile phones while others have “smart phones” which enable users to access the Internet and email over mobile broadband services. These bundles will include a mixture of features such as an inclusive number of call minutes, a number of texts and a certain amount of Internet data usage.
Fixed line networks generally offer bundles that may include a number of local calls or calls to the UK or international calls, generally measured in minutes of calling time. Some bundles may include a mixture of local, UK calls and international calls.
Some networks offer bundles that as well as including mobile calls, texts and Internet access also include a fixed line bundle and/or a fixed line broadband offer.
How do I select a mobile bundle?
The sort of bundle that you need will depend on the way that you use your mobile telephone. Some people like to talk others like to text. Bundles can be purchased either with a mobile handset or, if you already have a handset, as a simple SIM only bundle, which are cheaper.
Choose your bundle according to your usage of the bundle minutes.
If you make calls to landlines and mobiles outside Jersey then take a bundle that includes those destinations.
Bundles that include handsets are more expensive and in general the more features that a mobile phone has, the more the bundle will cost with such a phone. You may be tempted with the offer of a ‘free’ feature-rich handsets. The more expensive the phone, the more the monthly cost for the bundle that will include that phone. For example a top end mobile may cost £500-£600 and thus you may need to subscribe for two years to the top tariff to get it ‘free’. You will need to research thoroughly the costs of separate handsets versus a bundle contract including the handset.
Please be aware that the included call minutes do not include the so-called non-geographic number ranges operated in the UK. These are identified by numbers beginning 08XX or 09XX which are often advertised as help lines or special services such as catalogue ordering or information services. From mobile phones even calls to Freephone (0800) numbers are charged.
Mobile Bundles for Smart Phones
Most mobile telephones today are Smart Phones which have more functionality than older mobile handsets and are designed for use with a mobile broadband service. Consequently, mobile operators have designed bundles that include access to the broadband service of the network that your phone is with. It is only worth subscribing to a broadband package if you intend to use broadband for access to email and social network sites. Without a broadband subscription or “add-on” as the network operators call them, accessing the Internet can be expensive.
Fixed Line Bundles
Currently JT and Sure are the only operators that offer full fixed line bundles. Remember that regardless of the bundle offer, you will always need to pay fixed line rental.
International calls vary considerably in price so unless you make calls to destinations on the JT popular list then you will probably not benefit from a bundle. Furthermore, some mobile operators also offer very competitive pricing to some popular destinations too, and that may fit better with your lifestyle. And remember, you may also be able to use services such as Skype to speak to your friends and family abroad.
Remember that all calls to non-geographic lines are not included in any of the above bundled call packages. On fixed line telephones all Freephone (0800) calls are free but calls to other 08XX and 09XX will be charged at the standard rates.
Least Cost Routing Option
An alternative to mobile, fixed or International bundles, Sure has its Least Cost Routing offer called Suredial. This is a service that requires an additional ‘smartbox’ connected between your telephone and the fixed line connection. This then reroutes your outgoing calls via the Sure fixed network which claims to offer all calls cheaper than JT. The smartbox is provided free with this service; you only pay for calls .
Fixed Wireless Landline
An alternative to a full landline is available in Jersey from Airtel-Vodafone which currently offers local landline (01534) numbers via a wireless service.
This type of service will not suit everyone as often a fixed landline is needed for a broadband service anyway. However, this option offers a service to users that only require a landline telephone number for receiving calls at lower rates than a mobile number. It is a service that can, for example, be used by small business that want to advertise a landline telephone number and divert all calls to a mobile number during time away from the office.