Usual mass of catches apply, but its pretty good for the casual user.
Orange is hot on the heels of Carphone Warehouse today after announcing its own plans to offer ‘free’ broadband to customers. Like the ubiquitous high street store its proposition also comprises a fair few caveats, but it represents a good deal for the average user.
As part of a hefty rebranding exercise (which sees its Wanadoo ISP (formerly Freeserve) adopt the Orange name), the company is launching an all-in-one service tomorrow which provides free broadband to Orange customers who spend £30 or more per month on their mobile phone contracts.
The catch (there’s always a catch) is that all those who apply will be locked into an 18 month contract, a £10 per month line retail fee applies and there’s a 2GB download cap. On the sunny side a free wireless router and VoIP package will be thrown in as part of the deal and for another £6 of your finest pounds the new jack of all trades will supply its Anytime landline product which gives free calls to UK landlines.
With profit margins rapidly disappearing in mobile and home calls as well as broadband it appears a new trend is occurring where companies are trying to safeguard themselves by offering all three. BT is perhaps the most obvious example, though Vodafone is also looking to make the jump. The skittishness of these companies can also be seen with the new phenomenon of 18 month contracts as they try to hold onto customers who regularly jump ship after the usual 12 months.
In all, the evolution bodes well for consumers who – after having been exploited in each sector for far too long – finally look to be in the driving seat.