Vodafone scores PR coup with new packages
The press reaction to the new Vodafone packages where the price of the line rental is rolled into the monthly price quoted has been a bit of a surprise in the last day or two. Maybe because when editing package listings we have rolled in the cost of line rental where at all possible for some months; this may be why we did not spot how momentous this move by Vodafone was.
What is odd about the new Vodafone packages is that line rental is listed at £0 for the VDSL2 services, but still mentioned as £18 on the ADSL2+ product, nothing in the T&C suggests that the £0 line rental on VDSL2 is an offer - we suspect its just social engineering to make people see the VDSL2 services as a better deal.
Some other changes are that evening and weekend calls are now a £4/month add-on where as previously they were included when line rental was £16.99 per month and even if you migrate in to Vodafone there is a £49 fibre activation fee. With many of the Vodafone competitors this is offset by the various voucher offers, the plus side is that the VDSL2 pricing is very competitive so long as there is no price hike after the 18 month contract.
There will be more providers revamping their broadband pages before the new advertising rules come into play in October, though we don't think anyone has seen an actual set of guidelines e.g. for providers that allow a choice of WLR provider what do you say with regards to line rental?
The campaigning around broadband is not letting up and broadband speeds are very much in the centre of the target once again, with mounting pressure to use average speeds (though no one ever bothers to say whether they mean the median or mean figures). The very real danger with respect to forcing the hand in advertising is providers wanting to keep their average speeds high will refuse service to those on longer lines, thus forcing people to remain on an existing product, so even if a rural ADSL user was only getting 3.4 Mbps from ADSL and would only get 12 Mbps from VDSL2 they might not be able to upgrade. This is not a theoretical problem BT Consumer used to police sign-ups to Infinity 1 and Infinity 2 like this and slow users had to sign up to another product which was also bereft of any of the special offers. Of course products like DOCSIS (Virgin Media) and FTTH/FTTP don't suffer the distance issues of xDSL products, but in an evidence based environment advertising the average speed will impact their advertising too.