Buying the Right Services for you
Telecommunications –Buying the Right Mix of Services
When purchasing telecommunications products, service providers will invariably offer to sell us a mix of products across mobiles, landlines and broadband. These are known as Bundles.
What are bundles?
Bundles means that a telephone company includes a number of telecommunications services in a single priced product. This may be for a single service such as a mobile telephone contract or across a range of services. Many bundles include a mix of mobile; fixed line and broadband services.
Taking a bundle will in most cases require you to sign up to a contract for at least a year; more tempting offers may be for longer periods of 18 months and 24 months. 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. According to a 2011 Ofcom study, text usage is on the increase with the average UK mobile user sends around 200 texts while making 164 minutes of mobile calls per month. Younger demographic groups tend to send more texts and make less calls, while the reverse is true for the older groups. Similarly, younger users use more mobile broadband. 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. Mobile operators tempt customers with the offer of “free” feature-rich handsets in order to get them to commit to more expensive monthly subscription or even an extended contract term. 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”. Even then you may also need to make an initial deposit as well. Over the period of the subscription you may well pay more than double the cost of the phone and purchase many more call minutes and texts than you normally use.
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.
Many mobile telephones today are now the so-called Smart Phones which have more functionality than ordinary 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.
With telecommunications technologies moving at such a fast rate, you now have another option as an alternative to having a fixed landline in your home. 4G mobile broadband is now in Jersey, which is designed to provide a faster broadband speed than the older 3G technology, which we have been using in the last few years. This new technology now allows you to have wireless broadband accessible in your home, therefore giving you another choice when acquiring broadband and the issue of a fixed landline and no need for wires into your home.
Multi Service Bundles
There are special tariffs available which include a combination of broadband & mobile or broadband, mobile and fixed line services. You should consider what would suit you best as it may be beneficial to bundle your services or to buy them individually. You will need to consider your usage and life styles.
We urge that you shop around to check out the various deals & offers from Jersey operators.