Reading an article on Thinkbroadband reminded me about the strange way that companies drop products that may be in the customers best interest and always claim it is down to “customer response.”
In the article, it seems that PlusNet is dropping one of its broadband “Your Way” packages. They are increasing the cap on the cheaper packages but removing the high end product that was capped at 40gb for £29.99 per month. Personally I hate usage caps and would never go with a provider that had a public on, but the fact is all providers (except maybe Virgin Cable) have some cap, they just dont always tell you.
Anyway, because people are using things like the BBC iPlayer so much (don’t ask me about this, I don’t use it) PlusNet felt they had to change the caps. Basically this is the route they went down:
Package Old Limit New Limit Cost
Option 1 1GB 1GB (no change) £9.99
Option 2 8GB 15GB £14.99
Option 3 20GB 30GB £19.99
Option 4 40GB (withdrawn) £29.99
Now at first glance, this looks like removing something that was the best deal for high end users but it isn’t quite that bad. It seems that you can get Option 3 and add 10gb at £0.75 per gb so it is a bit cheaper to do it that way – however this misses the point. Oddly, someone I can only assume works for PlusNet commented this on the Thinkbroadband site:
Not sure why you think BS is involved. 40GB withdrawn because very few customers chose BBYW4 and it now works out cheaper to buy Option 3 and add ten more GBs at 75p each. Just a case of simplifying the choices.
Erm. No. It does not “simply the choices” it actually makes it more complicated for the user. Now if people really weren’t going for the expensive choice, why remove it? Why did it cost PlusNet to leave a slight less cost effective option for users who wanted the “simplicity” of having a larger usage allowance. The only way option 4 is more expensive is when PlusNet don’t increase its limit, which they haven’t.
Equally strange, if this is a result of more people needing more bandwidth, why not increase the allowance of Option 4 in line with the others? As few people used Option 4 this extra bandwidth for those few customers (say 45gb) wouldn’t strain the system surely?
Now, don’t get me wrong. PlusNet can charge what ever they want for broadband. I am not even a customer. It is just that something about this repricing exercise struck the cynic in me as strange.
Sadly, it isn’t always the company that is the main driver. When Morgan Spurlock’s tedious “Super Size Me” hit the screens, McDonalds were quick to withdraw the “supersize” choice. Sadly for the customer this represented the most cost effective way of getting food and was close to a loss-maker for McDonalds. I am sure they were devastated to withdraw it. When supersize meals were available, a very low income family of four could feed all with two meals, now they would be hard pushed to do it with three and would probably need to buy four. For about 25% increase in cost, the supersized meal delivered 33%+ extra food (at least it did over here). The only thing not increased was the burger but they are big enough already. Now, because at the most fundamental level western people don’t like the thought of self control, we have lost the option.
Well done world.