Tiscali revenues up, but customer numbers down
Orange are not the only provider shedding broadband customers as the latest quarterly financial statement published by Tiscali indicates that they are doing the same.
The headlines are about ADSL revenue up by 20%, and some 1,774,000 ADSL customers, of which 889,000 are on one of the two types of unbundled connection available. Some 887,000 customers take dual play services, which appears to mean telephone and broadband, although there is no mention of the Tiscali TV product.
It is not until you look back at the results from previous quarters as Mark Jackson at ISPreview has done, and you see a different view, 64,000 thousand customers lost in the last quarter and 101,000 lost compared to six months ago. Back in November 2007 the news was about Tiscali adding 250 new customers per day.
So what has happened? Hard to know for sure, one likely problem has been that people who joined the smaller providers previously snapped up by Pipex were not happy with Tiscali as the new owner so have moved onto new pastures. A great many may have grown tired of being bought and sold and with the current Tiscali sale dragging on, many will have had time to look at what may be more enticing offers.
The providers that seem to be growing and doing well are those with bundles where by having their TV or mobile service you get broadband free or nearly free. Maybe the reductions are more to do with the fair use policies applied to a product nominally sold as unlimited, and the confusion this causes. For example they have a £9.99 per month service (really £14.99 once you spot small print) that is up to 8Meg, unlimited and includes line rental, but they offer an upgrade to a product that is the same speed and again unlimited called Broadband Extra at £19.99 a month, which highlights unlimited time online and unlimited downloads but does mentions a fair use policy. So what is different about the cheaper product? And therein lies the problem- people get confused or sign-up and discover stuff they don't like this and leave.