It was interesting to note the views of Stuart Smith on the recent Carphone Warehouse broadband offer (MW last week).
Unlike Carphone Warehouse’s latest offering, the launch of Freeserve’s subscription-free access service was genuinely free with no hidden costs.
The ISP market is maturing as consumers are not just becoming more savvy about “the highest speed for the lowest cost”, they are also looking for a service that actually fits what they use it for.
Stuart mentioned the tipping point for broadband, and analysts are still trying to locate the “killer app” for broadband and the increasing speeds. Why not talk to customers and ask them? Isn’t that what marketers are meant to do?
Feedback from our own customers has led us to understand that they want to be able to choose, from a range of products, the one that best suits their needs. Our experience shows an evolving range of types of broadband user, from homes with several connected PCs, games consoles and wireless laptops through to more traditional users whose basic needs are speed, reliability and customer service.
The divergence of consumers’ broadband use will only increase with applications such as IPTV and the like. So rather than a “two-play” or “four-play” strategy, let’s give consumers the choice to create the tailor-made package that suits them.
Carphone Warehouse anticipates that it may be four years before it sees a return on its investment in local loop unbundling. Four years is a very long time in the internet industry – just look at what’s happened over the past four.
It’s worth bearing in mind that ultimately, even Freeserve’s groundbreaking proposition didn’t give it the scale to survive as a brand, let alone an ISP.
Director of commercial operations