Vodafone says it will give customers mobile data at no extra charge if their fixed-line broadband connection fails.
The deal only applies to customers who have a Vodafone home broadband plan and use the company’s mobile services.
In a press release Vodafone consumer director Matt Williams says the always connected promise recognises an internet connection is an essential service like electricity, gas and water.
He says: “Our powerful promise is that if a fixed broadband fault can’t be immediately resolved via our call centre, we’ll give you as much mobile data as your household needs — for free — until the fixed broadband connection is up and running again”.
The data can apply to as many as four Vodafone mobiles in a single house. They can use it by setting up Wi-Fi hotspots.
Once Vodafone applies the free data to a customer’s account, it’s theirs to keep even after Vodafone fixes the fault.
Williams says: “The other group who will benefit from our always connected promise are mobile customers who are moving house. We acknowledge it can be a painful process getting your essential services up and running, but problems with internet access will now be a thing of the past.”
This is clever marketing on Vodafone’s part.
Broadband connections rarely fail, fibre connections fail even less often. Presumably Vodafone doesn’t anticipate it’s rebranded FibreX HFC network failing often either.
Vodafone will almost never need to dole out large amounts of its valuable mobile data to inconvenienced broadband customers.
Although most customers will never need to take up the offer, from a user point of view it’s a useful form of insurance. That has real value, in effect customers get guaranteed continuity of service.
However, the premium for Vodafone’s insurance policy is that a customer has to buy both a fixed-line and a mobile service from Vodafone.
This is why it is so smart. Billing systems are a significant cost for telecommunications companies. So is something known as ARPU — the average revenue per user. Putting more services on a single monthly bill is a way of bundling more services on one account, baking in customer stickiness and pushing up the ARPU.