Monday, 28 November 2011

Prohibition against selling new Automatically Renewable Contracts

In a statement published on 13th September 2011 Ofcom confirmed that telephone and broadband rollover contracts, which tie customers into repeated minimum term contract periods unless they opt out, will be banned from December this year.

These types of contract, which are also known as Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs), roll forward to a new minimum contract period unless the customer actively opts out of the renewal. These contracts also have penalties for leaving early. The ban on selling Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs) will apply to landline and broadband services sold to domestic (residential) and small business customers.

The ban against selling new Automatically Renewable Contracts (ARCs) to customers comes into effect on the 31 December 2011 and all existing ARCS have to be moved off the renewable contract type by the 31 December 2012.

This ban affects the sale of ARCs to residential and small business customers. The requirements go on to define a small business and domestic customers as:

“domestic and small business customer”, in relation to a public communications provider, means a customer of that provider who is neither —

(a) himself a communications provider; nor

(b )a person who is such a customer in respect of an undertaking carried on by him for which more than ten individuals work (whether as employees or volunteers or otherwise).

So it is only companies with less than 10 employees that this will effect at present

For more information on who this legislation applies to download the Ofcom Guidance here

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Moving house or moving offices - something to think about.

So you are looking at moving house. You have seen the ideal dream property, checked out the nearest schools for the kids making sure that they match your expectations and even taken into the account the drive in town.

The deal is done, solicitors engaged and the move in day arrives.

You have already swapped the telephone line over to you and the broadband is ready for activation as soon as you move in.

The move goes well and at the end of the day you collapse into a chair, a glass of wine to hand, and you think to yourself – I know I’ll update twitter and face book. Post a few pictures and catch up with everyone. I might even check some work emails as well.

The laptop connects to the router and then you wait and wait while the internet dribbles into the house.

Eventually you manage to do a speed test and you find the dream house you have purchased is either on an old exchange and you are right at the limit of the service.

Amusing NO! Particularly if you are going to be running your business from home or even need to work remotely at times. Suddenly the dream house turns sour.

Can this happen? – Yes. Does this happen? – Yes. Is there a solution? – Not very often.

The same happens with office relocations. You see the ideal building in a great location so you sign the lease and prepare to move in only to find that internet connectivity is poor and cannot be improved upon until the exchange is updated or another solution can be found.

So whenever you contemplate a move, be it residential or for business, check that the broadband services will meet your expectations and requirements. A quick check with Sam Knows will give you a good idea of what is available in terms of download and upload speeds.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

uSwitch report reveals that broadband users experience connection speeds falls by over a third during period of highest demand.

According to uSwitch studies, during the peak period between 7pm and 9pm average download speeds are 6.2Mbps. That’s some 35 per cent slower than the fastest average connection speed of 9.6Mbps available between the hours of 2am and 3am when demand is at its lowest.

Internet users in Evesham Worcestershire, had the worst speed results with a massive 69 per cent drop in speed with the average morning speeds of 15.5Mbps recording 4.9Mbps in the evening.

Another area that showed large drops in speed is Weston-Super-Mare where peak-time speeds deteriorate by 64 per cent to 3.4Mbps. The average off-peak speed is around 9.5Mbps. expert Ernest Doku, said: “This research may help to shed some light on why many bewildered consumers, who believe they’ve signed up to a certain broadband speed, never actually feel like their connection is fast enough.

With the way that people now use the internet to watch TV, download and stream music, there is a greater demand on the network that impacts on everyone using it. A recent Ofcom report revealed that the average UK user is downloading over 17Gbs of data per month.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

White Rose Networks rebrands to Merlin Telecommunications Ltd

From November 2011 White Rose Networks Ltd will become Merlin Telecommunications Ltd.

Following a Client Evaluation of our business earlier in 2011, you told us that we could improve in a number of areas, one being a clearer brand and also better communication of our products and services. We hope you will agree that this is an exciting and positive change.

Our business is growing and we are developing new services, but one of the most important things we’d like to re-iterate strongly is that our absolute dedication to customer service remains paramount. We’re working on systems to help us respond even faster and help your business perform better but access to the team and real people is what makes us different, and that will stay the same!

We encourage all feedback and listen closely to what you tell us so that we provide exactly what you need for your business.

Look out for more information on Merlin Telecommunications to follow soon.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Postal scam chain email 2011 – PhonepayPlus’ statement

PhonepayPlus, the UK premium rate telephone services regulator, is aware that a chain email about an alleged postal scam is being circulated on the internet. The email refers to the Royal Mail, Trading Standards and ICSTIS (PhonepayPlus' former name).

PhonepayPlus appreciates that recipients of the email may want to find out more information about the alleged scam and has therefore issued the following statement:
  • The chain email refers to a service (operating on 0906 661 1911) that was shut down by PhonepayPlus (then ICSTIS) in December 2005. PhonepayPlus subsequently fined the company that was operating the service, Studio Telecom (based in Belize), £10,000.
  • The service is NO LONGER running and has NOT been running since December 2005.
  • You do NOT need to contact PhonepayPlus, or the Royal Mail, about this service as it was stopped almost six years ago.
  • If you receive a copy of the email warning you about the alleged scam, please do NOT forward it to others. Instead, please forward this statement from PhonepayPlus.  
  • If you receive a delivery card through your letterbox which you do not believe is genuine and which asks you to dial a premium rate number, you can contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) for further guidance.
  • Please go to our FAQs for useful information about how to recognise premium rate services and understand what they cost, and some simple tips to help you use services with confidence.
  • For more detailed information about PhonepayPlus’ work, please visit

Monday, 26 September 2011

Ofcom Update: Points of Handover pricing review final statement

Ofcom has published a statement on reductions to its charge control on BT in relation to additional Point of Handover charges.

A point of handover is the physical infrastructure and electronics used by other communications providers to connect to BT to deliver leased lines. Leased lines are mainly used by businesses to connect their sites and to provide broadband and other services.

The changes are expected to come into effect on 1 October.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The CLA (Country Land & Business Association) has welcomed the latest phase of BT's super-fast fibre optic broadband programme but says that “it could still leave the "final third" of the UK without a decent infrastructure”.

In effect the CLA is saying that rural areas and the remote "final third" may miss out on enhanced broadband services because the funding is making the already-fast faster rather than addressing the needs of the countryside.

CLA President William Worsley said: "We welcome BT's expectation to make super-fast fibre optic broadband available to two-thirds of UK homes and businesses by the end of 2015, although these are places that already have a decent broadband service.” 

"BT should focus on those rural areas with barely adequate broadband or none at all. The final third of the country still lacks any broadband service and will be even further behind by 2015." 

He went on to say that they recognise that Public Private Partnerships are needed to address the needs of supplying broadband to the most rural and remote areas and that if the Government is serious about having the best broadband in Europe then it must work toward encouraging public and private partnerships. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

IP Set Top Box Unit Shipments to Surpass 21 Million in 2011

In-STAT, in a recent report categorise the set top box market as mature. That is it has reached a state of equilibrium or at least the absence of significant growth.

They go on to say that that there are segments of the business that are innovating and growing at fairly significant rates.

New In-Stat ( research, Worldwide IP Set Top Boxes, identifies the IP set top box market segment as one that is growing and is forecasting that unit shipments will surpass 21 million in 2011.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ofcom update: Ofcom bans rollover contracts

Our contribution to the OFCOM report on ACR's (Automatically Renewable Contracts).

As one of the few companies within the telecoms industry advocating 'no rolling contracts' (or long contracts for that matter) we are pleased that our contribution is reflected in the latest statement from OFCOM. We are of the firm belief that the provision of excellent service delivery at great prices does not come about because of long term or rolling agreements but happens when the contract is fair to both parties with customers being able to reward good businesses practice by keeping their business with them and swapping those that do not. By not providing a quality service both in terms of customer service and products will see those companies lose their business.

The banning of ACR's from the 31st of December is a win win for both quality suppliers of telecoms services and customers. 

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Mobile Internet Connections in the UK figures according to the O.N.S

The Office for National Statistic (ONS) report ‘Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2011, has shown significant growth in the use of mobile internet technology since 2010. There are now 6 million people using their mobile phones to access the internet.

Mobile phone internet technology has grown the fastest amongst the 16 to 24 age group and use of mobile phone internet technology has increased from 44% to 71% over 12 months.

Mobile internet use by women has seen a doubling of use since 2009 increasing from 18% to 39%.

Use of mobile internet technology i.e. laptops etc. has also seen an increase in use with 38% of users accessing the internet via this method while away from the home or work.

77% of homes have household internet access acording to the O.N.S

The Office for National Statistic (ONS) in a recent report ‘Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2011', indicated that 19 million households in the UK now had an internet connection. This is 77% of households up from 73% in 2010.

Although the growth in household internet connections has grown there are still around 5.7 million households without an internet connection. Reasons cited for this lack of internet connection vary, ranging from the cost of equipment, a lack of skills or just “they do not need the internet”.

Of connected households 93% are using broadband compared to 84% in 2007. There is still some dial up access accounting for 2% of connected households and the remainder is made up of mobile internet connections.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

What are the best opening hours for a call centre

An interesting article appeared on the Call Centre Helper website recently entitled “What are the best opening hours for a call centre”

The article was interesting from a number of viewpoints
  • Costs
  • Availability 
  • Customer service 
As those involved in the call centre arena know, a major part of call centre success is related directly to opening hours. This can be divided into 2 main areas. Opening hours that directly affect consumers and opening times that affect business.

Keeping call centres open 24 hours per day is generally not possible, unless required, as it is a costly exercise both in terms of financial impact and HR. However by offering the right mix of opening hours becomes an important ingredient in delivering customer satisfaction.

By offering the right mix of opening hours is important when delivering the right mix of customer experiences that benefit all.

The article goes into more details covering areas such as
  • Extended office hours 
  • Outbound calling 
  • Making use of web self-service 
  • Staff redeployment 
  • Use of an answer machines 
Read the article on the best opening hours for a call centre

Monday, 22 August 2011

The advantages of Voice over IP Telephony Solutions.

Voice over IP Telephony is all about making and receiving phone calls using an internet connection rather than the traditional method of using ‘Fixed’ phone lines such as analogue, ISDN2 or ISDN30 to make a phone call. VoIP telephony has an advantage over traditional telephony in that it usually costs far less than traditional methods of voice communications and so reduces the need for major capital expenditure.

Some of the benefits that VoIP can bring:

Lower call charges: By implementing a VoIP telephone solution into a business it can begin to save on call charges straight away. Savings can range from 30% to 60% by switching away from traditional telephone services.

Save on hardware: The move to VoIP is one of the easiest transitions that any company can make. There is no requirement to purchase expensive phone system (PBX) equipment. At its simplest, VoIP telephony can be used by any business with computers that have a sound card, speakers, a microphone and a suitable Internet connection. On top of this all that is required is a softphone client to make and receive calls. Softphones can either be free or paid for.

There are many types of IP enabled desktop phones that can be used with a VoIP service and often the type of phone chosen is a personal preference. However always ensure that phones are compatible with the service that you are going to use before purchasing them.

Flexibility: VoIP telephony allows you to use the phone in the same way that you always have with a fixed line service. When making the switch, you can even keep your existing phone number(s) so avoiding the need to go through expensive re-branding exercises. A VoIP solution allows you to tailor a system to suit your circumstances. Add extensions when you need then and remove them if you don’t

VoIP telephony offers a business many advantages over traditional systems. The cost for a basic VoIP telephone system extension starts around £8.50 per month and includes extras such as voicemail, music on hold, Outlook integration etc. Other options such as IVR’s , call queues, call recording are modular and can be bolted on as required. The use of existing phone numbers, the choice of other geographic and non geographic numbers, the ability to have remote workers connected without additional charges and from anywhere in the country give improved flexibility to any business looking to enhance their presence and maximise productivity.

Other benefits:

Adapt to changes in the business without the need for major additional capital expenditure.

Business Continuity: VoIP offers enhanced business continuity and disaster recovery options over and above traditional fixed line services. Rapid switching to alternative numbers / mobiles ensures that downtime is kept to a minimum. Organisations looking to have a telephony business continuity solution in place in the event of premises loss can have a system sat in the background ready to activate at a moments notice.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Want to know what one of the biggest problems facing UK small businesses over the next few years will be?

Domestic broadband costs SME’s £751m in wasted time every month.

A staggering 70%* of SME’s across the UK are still relying on ‘domestic broadband’ rather than ‘business grade’ connectivity - and are counting the financial costs as a result

Not all broadband is equal.

Residential broadband services are not up to the challenges that will be facing businesses over the next few years. Residential networks are becoming more congested with traffic from video and gaming, while at the same time businesses are being encouraged to move more and more of their critical applications online with the march of “cloud based services”. This means that when problems arise, poor customer support from your supplier reflects badly on your business.

All of this is only going to become more important. From mobile working and email, to placing orders, from taking bookings to video conferencing or “plain old” word processing: the web is becoming the modern office space. And the costs associated with connectivity failures are going to become more and more apparent as web based working and technologies develop.

Therefore it becomes paramount that you ensure that you have the necessary broadband services in place to handle your business and that it gives you a quality of service that your customers will expect of you. When considering a supplier ensure that they have a scalable solid network in place and excellent CUSTOMER SERVICES not just customer service.

You have a stark choice. You can carry on with a broadband service which although it works for now may become unfit for purpose in the future and impact on your ability to carry out your business or move to products that will deliver real benefit and peace of mind to you.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Ofcom: Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation

Ofcom has introduced new restrictions on the way that telephone numbers are issued to communications providers to ensure the best use of numbers and to better protect consumers from scams, fraud and other forms of abuse. A test has been incorporated into the process for allocating numbers to communications providers known as the Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation (‘the CPT’).

The Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation focuses on communications providers which have used numbers to cause serious or repeated harm to consumers. 

Ofcom will not allocate 070 personal numbers, 0871/2/3 special service higher rate numbers and 09 premium rate numbers to anyone who appears on either of two lists and Ofcom strongly encourages all providers that assign telephone numbers to others to take best use of numbers and consumer protection into account and to refer to the following two lists when making assignment decisions.

For more information on the CPT and check the Consumer Protection Test Number Refusal List, visit Ofcoms website: Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

When is a hosted PBX not a hosted PBX?

I was talking to the Managing Director of Eloquent Technologies last week when he told me about a recent bid that he had submitted for a hosted solution for a new client. They had submitted their proposal and were moving forward with finalisation of the contract when the client called up advising that they had received a much cheaper price and what could they do to better the quote.

He asked them for a copy of the rival quote as their pricing had been very keen and he was intrigued to see how this new proposal stacked up.

What he discovered was truly shocking. The so called “hosted” solution consisted of an HP server connected to the internet via a standard broadband line with no quality quarantine or SLA which for the type of applications that they were considering to run and the mission critical nature of their requirements made this proposal totally unsuitable.

This same scenario happens time and again with hosted telephony solutions, where unsuitable services or infrastructure for running a hosted telephone system is suggested to the client. However, because the quote is much cheaper, it means that the client will seriously consider the proposed solution or even select the service before asking any questions. The old adage “if it sounds too good to be true it probably is” rings out loud and clear.

So do your research, ask the detailed questions and if it sounds cheap ask “what do you do differently to other suppliers?” The cheapest solutions are not always the best and a cheap buy can very soon turn into an expensive buy with all the grief and headaches to match.


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Ofcom update: Business Connectivity Market Review - call for inputs

Ofcom has published a call for inputs on its Business Connectivity Market Review. This initial document seeks views from industry on the market for leased lines which communications providers use to provide dedicated broadband and calls, mainly to large businesses.  The document also looks at the backhaul capacity market, an essential input into mobile and broadband services.

Ofcom aims to publish a further consultation by the end of the year.

Ofcom’s call for inputs can be found here: Business Connectivity Market Review - call for inputs

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

BT set to increase their call charges by 9%

BT has announced that from the end of April it will increase the charges that it makes for calls by a whopping 9% and by 30p the charge that it makes for standard line rentals.

BT will inform customers of the new charges by letter which follows the higher charges announced last October when they increased call charges by 10% and line rentals by 50p.

Customers on certain packages will not be affected by the new price rises.

What this means in real terms is that a 10 minute call will go up from 70p (7ppm) to 76p (7.6ppm).

BT has also announced that 75% of calls made on their networks are free as a result of people signing up to calling packages and that millions of people have signed up to their Unlimited Any Time Plans.

Without sounding cynical it just seems to be another way to get people to sign up to plans that they will be locked into for long periods of time, that they do not need and probably will not benefit from.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ofcom update: Proposals to ban automatically renewable contracts

Ofcom has set out proposals to ban automatically renewable contracts that tie consumers with landlines into repeated minimum contract periods unless they opt-out.

Ofcom is concerned that rollover contracts make it harder for customers to switch providers and consequently reduce the benefits of competitive choice.

These contracts are currently offered by BT and several other smaller companies to residential and business users of landline services and automatically roll the customer forward to a new minimum period contract unless the customer actively opts out of the automatic rollover.

Ofcom is proposing to amend existing rules to prohibt opt-out contract renewals in any form in the landline and broadband sectors. If Ofcom proceeds with its proposals then any provider who continues to offer this type of contract could face enforcement action including a financial penalty of up to 10% of turnover.

Ofcom has powers under sections 45- 47 and 51 of the Communications Act 2003 to set rules governing how Communications Providers are allowed to provide their services to members of the public. These rules are known as “General Conditions”.

Read the full release of the Ofcom proposal
The Ofcom consultation document can be found here

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ofcom update: Ofcom publishes latest broadband speeds research

Ofcom today published its latest broadband speeds research which shows that the average broadband speed is now 6.2Mbit/s but is still less than half (45 per cent) of the average advertised broadband speed of 13.8Mbit/s.

In it's Executive summary Ofcom mentions that: In the last decade internet access speeds across the UK have increased as consumers have migrated from dial-up to broadband and ISPs have offered packages at higher advertised 'up to' speeds. The next phase of this evolution is now getting under way as operators invest in superfast broadband services. It is therefore becoming more important than ever for consumers to have reliable and accurate information on how different broadband services perform otherwise consumers may not be able to make an informed choice about which broadband service is most suitable for them.

Summary of average download speed by ISP package, November/December 2010 (multi-thread tests)

Source: SamKnows measurement data for all panel members with a connection in November/ December 2010
*Caution: Small sample size (<50)
** Results should be treated with some caution as normalisation may not be as effective for O2/Be due to the lower incidence of panellists with longer than average line lengths
Panel Base: 1081
Notes: (1) Only includes ADSL customers within 5km of the exchange and in Geographic Markets 2 and 3 ; (2) Includes on-net customers only for LLU operators (3) Data for ADSL operators have been weighted to ISP regional coverage of LLU lines and distance from exchange; data for Virgin Media's cable service have been weighted to regional coverage only; (4) Data collected from multi-thread download speed tests; (5) The range shown represents a 95% confidence interval around the mean

Ofcom also published its response to the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee for Advertising Practice (BCAP) consultation on broadband advertising. Ofcom is recommending that if speeds are used in broadband advertising they should based on a Typical Speeds Range so that consumers have a clearer idea of what speeds to expect.

The full research can be found here: Broadband speeds November - December 2010

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

How much do your calls really cost - part 3

In parts 1 and 2 we looked at Bundled Tariffs and Capped Call Tariffs. In part 3 of this series the Call Centre First 90 Seconds Free Tariff is considered.

This is a very sexy offering from one of the biggest telecoms service providers but when considering it as a possibility it is crucial to be aware of the small print as you could end up in a contract that is not easy to get out of and the charges could become horrendous.

The offer appears worthy until you learn that for each line or circuit you want it on, there is an additional £10 per month charge. You won’t see this in your call charges: you will just think to yourself that "rentals are expensive”. If you have a 30-channel ISDN 30, you have to have all the channels on it, not just the ones you want to use for the call plan. This would add a whopping £300.00 per month (£3600 pa) to your costs.

For your business to benefit from such a plan, you would need to make a disproportionate number of calls of less than 90 seconds. The only way to make that volume of calls is to use a predictive dialler which just happens to be an exclusion clause in the contract.

Once you are out of the 90 seconds band, you are charged a higher rate tariff. As with the Capped

Call Tariff, you must have a very specific (and constantly specific) call usage profile to benefit from this tariff. At the same time you need to be fully aware of the constraints within the small print of the contract about using equipment designed to make your business efficient! And the default position is a Capped Call Tariff so you could go from bad to worse!

One of our clients admitted they had been enticed by the promise of the First 90 Seconds Free Tariff but fortunately used the advice outlined previously. They asked the salesman why he had failed to mention the £10 per channel charge (which for 103 Channels would have meant paying £1,030 per month or £12,360 per annum), as well as the additional charges on the calls that went over 90 seconds (which would have cost an extra £850 per month or £10,200 per annum). They realised that rather than being worthwhile, they would have ended up spending £22,560 to access £7,200 of savings!

What’s more, since they used a predictive dialler to maximise the efficiency of their call centre staff, it would have negated the call centre plan as offered and defaulted them to the Capped Call Tariff. Reverting to the Capped Call Tariff would have increased their call charges by approximately £5,000 per month or £120,000 over the two-year contract period.

Call Centre First 90 Seconds Free Tariff Tip

Avoid the Call Centre First 90 Seconds Tariff unless your call profile is consistently benefiting you
and you do not fall foul of any contract exclusions.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

How much do your calls really cost - part 2

In part 1 of this series we looked at the Bundled Tariff solution provided by telecoms suppliers and why they are maybe not such a good idea unless you can use the allowance to its maximum.
In part 2 we shall look at the Capped Call Tariffs

Capped Call Tariffs are like a mini-bundle per call. The benefits seem appealing: you limit your call costs which means you won’t get any nasty shocks. When you look at your itemised calls, you’ll be able to spot the occasional capped calls. You think: ‘Great deal!’ You won’t see many capped calls but just enough to know the plan is working.

Lets illustrate why a Capped Call Tariff may not be the great deal you think it is by taking extracts from a couple of clients to demonstrate what a call profile looks like and which I dare say you will be totally unaware of.

Number of calls by duration

What you see from this graph is that a significant number of calls last less than a minute. On the profile above, you can see that the average call duration was slightly less than two minutes .

The current cap on local and national calls is anywhere between 5p and 10p. Telecoms service providers therefore appear to give massive perceived value and in return ask for a rolling 24-month contract. That’s fair isn’t it?

Let’s look at the Capped Tariff versus a 0.8p/min tariff. This simple graph illustrates why the Capped Tariff should send alarm bells ringing. Let’s say this is your account and you’ve made a total 5,494 calls during the month.

If you had the Capped Call Tariff, you might look at your itemised bill and see lots of capped calls and uncapped calls, and you’d probably feel warm inside, believing you had a great package. However, with the graph, you can see that of the 5,494 total calls made, you’d have only benefited from 290 of them or 5.2%. A whopping 94.8% of all your calls have cost you more. In essence, the 5p Capped Call Tariff would have worked out at 2.85p/ minute versus 0.8p a minute – that’s 256% more expensive.

Capped Call Tariff Tip

Know your call profile and analyse the benefits (if any) that a Capped Call Tariff will give you. Unless you know for certain that you will benefit, don’t go anywhere near a Capped Call Tariff – it will cost you significantly more.

In the next blog we will look at the Call Centre First 90 Seconds Free Tariff and what this means for your businesses.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

How much do your calls really cost - part 1

With the current economic difficulties it has become even more important to know how your business call tariff is put together. This may seem tedious when you have lots of other pressing things to do, but it’s a crucial step to carry out so that you understand what you are being charged for your telephony.

Telecoms companies know that the majority of decision-makers don’t have the necessary time or the expertise to confirm whether or not call packages will benefit their companies and this means that if you don’t understand how call tariffs work, you may sign a contract which contains clauses or options that don’t meet your requirements and which will cost significantly more than you expected.

I will cover the main issues with tariffs and plans over the next few pages and give you the tools to avoid getting caught in a bad deal.

Over the next few blog articles I will cover various types of call tariff that you can expect to see from a Telecoms provider. You will then have a little more knowledge in your arsenal so that you can ask the right questions of your provider.

The Bundled Tariff:

Let’s use a simple tariff option that is 1,000 local and national minutes for £10 per month. At first glance you might think it will cost you a penny a minute and is therefore, a good deal. However, if you only use 800 minutes of your allotted 1,000 (that’s 13:20:00) your costs will have gone up by 25%.

A bundle tariff is only worth having if you hit the maximum allowable every month without stepping over into ‘out of bundle’ charges, which can be very expensive.

Another point to remember when considering your 'bundled tariff' is that during the year, (and you may well be in at least a 12-month contract, if not longer) there will be three or four periods where your phone usage will drop: Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. What this means is that you may have committed to paying at least 30% more for your calls, even if you hit your bundle for the rest of the year.

The Bundled Tariff tip:

Avoid the Bundle Tariff unless you know you will repeatedly hit the maximum minutes consistently over the year. Incidentally, less than 5% of businesses will consistently use the maximum number over a 12-month period. So the best advice is to avoid Bundle Tariffs because you will pay over the odds for a benefit you don’t receive and just increase the profit margins of the telecom provider.

In the next blog I will look at Capped Call Tariffs and what these mean to your business.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3