back to article Stats model: UK small biz overpays for stealth mobile plans

Business mobile plans are notorious for their complexity and obscurity, so if you're a UK SME, how do you know if you're being ripped off? While regulator Ofcom monitors pricing across various sectors (eg, PDF), it doesn’t publish a detailed analysis of which is the most competitive – that's expensive and difficult – leaving …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pah - what's the point ?

    I spent the better part of a month poring over my last employers byzantine mobile contract (with a company that had a pasting in these very pages a few months ago ...). They were Vodafone pimps.

    Sliced and diced so that other operators could tender.

    EE came out ahead by almost 50% cheaper.

    Started preliminaries and CEO of ShitCo blubbed with our CEO over golf, and we had to "re-evaluate". Mysteriously ShitCo were chosen, simply by removing the cost of devices from their tender saying" well these days, everyone buys their own".

    And, from what I hear, my employers head office STILL hasn't got reception over 25% of the building. 3 years after ShitCo promised they'd laid it on the line for Voda.

    Scumbags, the lot of them.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Pah - what's the point ?

      If someone has to buy your business, it's obvious that:

      - They know their original price was just there to scam you and until you complained, nothing happened. They don't care whether you get a good deal, they just want your money.

      - They can't compete against the others in a fair comparison.

      - Your company doesn't care about what they actually use, preferring to lay their business at the hands of a fancy dinner for the CEO.

      All of the above are only ever symptoms of the same kinds of "who-cares" management.

      If you're signing up for multiple years on the above basis, it's game over, nobody is ever going to change that in the contract term and then the "renewal" can be to ANYTHING else and still win praise ("It will cost us more, but that's because we're not locked in any more", "I found a better deal for us", "I negotiated with our usual supplier and got a discount", etc. etc.).

      I've learned to just ignore it. These people have elevated themselves to a position where their failure doesn't matter, even if it appears as a huge percentage of the costs on the balance sheets. They could literally spend company money on moving manure around in a box and nobody would care, because they "make enough money" even with that. Totally ignoring that they could make *more* money if they didn't.

      Every sufficiently large organisation ends up going this way, and there's pretty much nothing you can do about it except start your own company and cut that stuff out yourself.

      Personally, every single clawing salesman I ever see is just a warning sign - if you want my business that badly, there's something wrong. The more you crawl and discount, the more you're just trying to play the human rather than the numbers, and the lower those numbers could have always been ALL ALONG.

      I've actually got into arguments with salesmen about such things and told them I wouldn't do business with them ever again. They can't understand it, and all they care about is their commission.

      Personally, my workplace has several dozen mobile phones with a provider who just resell Vodafone contracts. We are paying way over the odds for pathetic amounts of data, text, minutes, etc. and nobody cares. We don't have any special requirements, we have a handful of "SIM-only" things for GSM equipment, and we're paying £30+ a month for 48-month contracts with only 100Mb of data in some instances. We also pay through-the-nose for a "device fund" which we can use to get them to send us a new phone. They obviously scrape the interest off those as we pay all the time but only rarely request a new phone. They never have the phones we want. New phones are ALWAYS locked to their network. They take ages to deliver. They send a SIM separately days later (presumably direct from Vodafone in a way we could do ourselves!). The SIM never fits the handset. We phone up and then they send us a multi-SIM. Then we have to wait for that to arrive. Then we have to phone them back up and give them the SIM, IMEI etc. and they lock them all together. And they NEVER have records and I have to faff and keep track of SIMs, numbers, IMEI's etc. for them.

      And yet, in my personal life, I deploy exactly the same kinds of devices, either on a £5 a month minimum rolling payment I can stop at any time, or a £25 one-off payment and pennies per text (for the GSM ones, guaranteed not to cut to you off just because you don't use them much). Unlocked handsets. SIMs that I don't have to tally at all. I could literally slice the organisation's monthly mobile phone bills by at least 5/6ths if I was allowed to, plus spend only half what they do on devices, and there'd be no difference in service (only positive), and I'd even move the numbers over if it was necessary. For that you'd get TEN TIMES more data, probably free phone calls, etc. and none of the lock-in problems.

      But they continue to use them for reasons I can't fathom.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pah - what's the point ?

        I had a very similar conversation with our Voda reseller recently.

        We're on a data sharer tarrif which gives us 9GB shared between about 12 handsets. I asked why Vodafone thought this was good when I got 6GB personal data on my £10 per month personal contract.

        Ah but billing all in one place, free calls between handsets, euro traveller etc etc was the answer, which whilst technically true I don't think is really worth the cost difference.

        Trouble is if you want to centrally manage your bills and don't want to go down the BYOD route there is very little choice. We actually went out to market the last time we renewed and we're actually paying slightly less than everyone else came back with...

  2. ShortLegs

    Telco's pricing plans complex and obscure? Now there's a surprise, as no-one ever said.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We go through a company that re-sells Vodafone (and other networks) and while the prices are not as good as you can get on a single-user domestic tariff I don't think we're paying as much over the odds as this article suggests. We get 2GB data plus unlimited text and calls (UK 01, 02, 03 and mobiles) for £14.50 per connection per month. The high costs come in when people call overseas numbers or use services like 'call return' or directory enquiries (and say yes, please put me through so i can carry on paying £3 per minute for a call that would be free) and I have seen indivdual monthly bills of over £200, but that's rare.

    A big part of managing the bills is educating the users (and bills affect profits, which affect bonuses, so they can be educated).

    What gets us in particualr is the inability to switch connections on and off. Because we bring in people on short contracts as work demands and we need to set themm up on our system with our number I sometimes have to add another connection on a full two-year term. We were particularly busy earlier this year and now we're quite quiet I have eight unused SIMs that we're still paying for every month

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Trollface

    "This is highly concerning to us and raises further suspicions of the regulator not doing its job"

    I'm sorry, this is the Trump era. You really think the regulator is working in your favor ?

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