Orange seems to be one large broadband provider that is shrinking while others are reporting growth. In September 2007 they had some 1.142 million customers, dropping to 1.107 million in March 2008. In the last quarter TalkTalk managed to add 107,000 broadband customers, and even BT Retail who one would expect to be facing the stiffest competition added 150,000 broadband customers in the last quarter.
The Guardian covers some of the new chief executives strategy, which will not be good news for those in management as several hundred managers out of a 12,500 workforce look set to be shown the door. At the same time the number of people in call centres will be increased, we presume in an effort to improve customer service.
The complexity of shopping for a mobile phone tariff would appear to have spilled over onto the broadband section of Orange's website. For example the cheapest price is £6 a month for the first three months, reverting to £12 a month thereafter, but if you sign up to an 18 or 24 month mobile plan it will be £7 a month. Only on reading the footnotes do you spot that these prices are valid in areas where Orange has its LLU network. The price difference for the 40% of the UK without Orange LLU is £4 extra during the offer period and £8 extra per month thereafter. Oh we almost forgot, down in the small print at the bottom of the page, there is a £30 connection fee and the broadband contract is 18 months long.
This is just one of three main broadband products, so one can perhaps understand why prospective customers may simply be confused and end up shopping elsewhere. Complex product pricing is not just an Orange problem; as bundles become more complex, spotting all the extra charges and caveats gets harder.