The myth of the telecom package deal

A number of years ago BT carried out some market research in the SME market to see what the key factors were when choosing a telecoms supplier and deal. Apparently this research showed that the bulk of SME businesses valued the control of their expenditure the most i.e. knowing what you would be spending month on month.

As a result of this exercise BT undertook a big push on packaged phone deals for businesses (One Plans and many offshoots), you know the sort I mean where for a set amount per month you get your line rental and a number of calls included. Obviously, they could not include everything so the add-ons for certain non-geographic calls, directory space, international calls, non-direct debit payment, non paper bills etc, etc, etc, fell outside this beautifully packaged “pay one amount per month” deal.

The sad thing is that every time BT or any other telecoms supplier brings out such “fantastic” deals all shrouded in black magic marketing and pages and pages of small print, a lot of people buy it!

I accept there is trade-in for ease against the best possible price, however on instances such as these the amount you use within your package is never shown. So, how can you ever know if what you are paying is fair and reflects what is available elsewhere in the market? The answer is – you can’t!

Suppliers would argue that such packaged deals can benefit a number of companies, and to reflect this in the past 15 years I can count on one finger the number of times it was the best possible deal. So no it isn’t unbeatable and any approach made to you to accept such a packaged deal should be met with much scepticism.

Telecoms can be confusing, but most of this confusion is created by suppliers to enable them to charge higher prices.

So a few rules to bear in mind:

1) You must ensure you have full transparency of your charges for all elements of your contract, your line rental, your call charges, you broadband, and any additional services.

2) You must be able to see exactly what you have used of each every month through your bill and any reports you receive.

3) You must be able to compare what you spend with what you are being offered by another supplier at any point in time.

You need to view telecoms as just another consumable in your business, you would not pay a monthly set amount for your office stationery so why do it for your telecoms?


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