Monday, May 25. 2009
.....in the way Exetel constructs broadband plans after five and a half years of pursuing the same path?
It is past time to consider the changes that should be made to Exetel's 'product line up' for the new financial year that is only five or so weeks away - yet anoter year gone in the blink of an eye. While modifying/changin plans is mostly an iterative process, it is going on all the time in an 'evolutionary' sort of way on a month on month basis, we use the end of each financial year to make the 'big decisions' on overall 'direction changes'.
So I drowsed away yesterday afternoon changing channels between two different boring local football matches, a recording of the Bulls/Crusaders game and a selection of other uninteresting FoxTel offerings and re-collating the various projects, customer suggestions, 'competitive' current changes (none that I can see) and some of our own less wild ideas. As I mentioned previously we have solved our "move your downloads to after midnight" too well to the point that the old "peak period" is now almost a gbps less than the stoke of midnight to 12.20 am brief time interval as can be seen here:
This has been a remarkable piece of 'education' (although it has taken the best part of five years) and has turned the old peak/off peak perceptions on their head and leaves us with an interesting view of how we should construct future broadband plans.
I, personally, like our current plan 'construction' and the symmetry of the 12 hours 'free' 7 days a week and believe it is a major achievement in the timorous 'me too' ISP copy cat marketplaces where, effectively, there is virtually no innovation and no real differentiation - although that is partly caused by Telstra's dead hand regarding ADSL1 and general lack of desire to do any thing 'brave' in the case of ADSL2. However the users of the Exetel plans that have liked the post midnight very large downloads have, over time and without me really noticing, created a new set of opportunities.
A spare gbps of "old" peak period (7.30 pm to 11.00 pm) bandwidth that is now 'unused' is something that I never thought I would see and provides the opportunity of adding something like 20,000 users to the Exetel network without having to add any more upstream bandwidth (IP) but we would still neeed to add the customer connect bandwidth. So this means that we can effectively add customers to the current network plus some connection bandwidth but only around 30% as there is also spare capacity on most links. So it means that pursuing a policy of minimal profits (say $5.00 a month) we can introduce a new range of plans (leaving the current ones in place for the people who obviously like them) that are designed to appeal to people who don't want to download large files every day. I think we could 'frighten' a number of people with this sort of financial advantage. It will be an amusing few days.
With the new 30% lower pricing of IP overall kicking in from 1st July there will be the opportunities of seeing just what can be done regarding finalising some sort of pensioner plans. Every way we've looked at this scenario we haven't been able to find anything that 'jumps off the screen' and says something that is so attractive it's a no brain cell decision. I think it's something we need to try and do (and, yes, I have read the extensive arguments why pensioners shouldn't get "even more benefits" but then those arguments apply to attempting to protect endangered species equally well and we don't share those views).
Our major preoccupation in new plan structres, as it has been for some nine months, will be how to significantly grow our HSPA sales and how certain we can be about Optus network upgrade intentions - which is probably more important but unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that. While I'm happy enough that we will get a sensible level of 'pricing support' from Exetel the key issues of antennae, 'USB modems' and magic boxes will need to be addressed by us. I believe we will have a good antenna solution (subject to last minute hiccups) and we appear to be close to getting a much better price for the USB 'sticks' but the magic box is still elusive. Perhaps we'll get some inspiration from the last of the marketing experts we have briefed on our desire to promote HSPA?
One of the most satisfying things about FY2008 has been the steeply increasing usage of VoIP, SMS via email, FAX via email and VoIP over mobile which validates our investments in research and development and programming over the past few years of itself but has given us a real advantage over the vast majority of the "me tooer" ISPs - which is just about all of them. The investments we started to make three years ago are now delivering us really solid software add ons that provide very real benefits to an increasing percentage of our customer base. We have used these add ons as freebies on our current broadband plans (30 free SMS, 10 free faxes and 100 free national/local calls) and that provides a very large financial bonus to those customers who use them. We can use those add ons (which have a very real cost to us) for the percentage of customers who find them of value (and all current plan users) and remove them from future plans. Those cost reductions, together with other savings we have been able to make, will give us some opportunites to re-look at the other plans we may begin to offer.
Then there's.....sufficient to say it will be a busy few weeks deciding what we should, and can, do to improve the "price proposition" for all of our current and future customers by 'playing around with' the new parameters that now exist.
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
The current included VOIP calls are a great selling point. Would be a shame to see them removed from future plans.
I agree - for the people who want to use VoIP and want to use Exetel VoIP.
There are some 50% of users who, although this ability is included in their plan choose not to use it.
As an introduction to those services, could the current level of freebies be retained BUT as a one-off, not every month?
ie 100 free VoIP, 30 free SMS and 10/20 free Email2Fax?
This could get customers to try them for free, discover they work, then hopefully continue using them.
Hmmm, bad idea... I think what would work better would be to offer all services for three months or something similar, then reduce it to one or two options for free that you can choose each month. i.e. 100 free voip calls or the free SMS's or the free faxes etc.
Maybe you could push HSPA towards those who already have an ADSL service with you, as a "Backup"(ok.. maybe not) but as a "Exetel connection no matter where you are" sort of thing.
I know if i had a laptop, I'd have an Exetel HSPA service along side it.. no need to find a local hotspot.. no need to sit idle in the car while waiting for that meeting, or relaxing in the park during lunch hour instead of staying tethered to the desk for personal email..
Slightly off topic but very applicable to your concerns regarding "free" deals from ISPs
New rules force full costs to be advertised - http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/25/2579997.htm
No more "free" but only if..... deals, maybe.
Without using the word "free" what will all those empty spaces on ads be filled up with?
I personally would like to see some plans which have a set amount of data for both peak and offpeak which are good value. I hardly ever use the 60GB offpeak anymore.
I would like to see 40, 50 and 60GB plan's.
Is this something you would be looking into before the financial year ends?
We are looking at anything and everything.
One thing we are looking at is a 'wrinkle' from the PAYU plans of selling off peak (3 am to 11 am) download allowances in 10 gb blocks).
I just had a local radio buff here in town rig up a 900 Mhz yagi for me (from an old UHF antenna).
Tested in an area about 15km from the tower, slightly obstructed by a hill/trees, that had no signal at all.
Connected the aerial, had a full 5 bars on the meter, at chest height, without mounting on a pole.
Just shows that having an antenna can make all the difference.
External PHP Application