Quad Play: Four for the Money
Rates for home telecommunication services are going up, but service providers are offering deep discounts for triple or quad play service packages. These packages combine High Speed Internet with Cable TV, Home Phone and Cell Phone service from a single provider.
There are usually conditions attached, but the savings are so high that consumers are getting good deals overall.
PR Newswire brings the details of a Consumer Report survey of 84,000 subscribers regarding their telecommunications services. Most who took advantage of bundles with three or four services would do so again. Part of the savings resulted from attractive introductory offers over a limited time. To check whether you save any money, you have to compare different offers and calculate how much the services cost over the lifetime of the contract.
Quad Play Bundles
The most attractive deals bundle all your telecommunication needs into one package from one provider. The supplier saves money because Internet, Cable TV and Home Phone service can all enter your home through one connection, and those three services, as well as your cell phone service, can all be billed on one account.
You can take advantage of the savings on the part of the provider by negotiating lower rates. According to the Consumer Reports survey, many subscribers received discounts when they asked for them. This was especially true when consumers had access to more than one supplier. They were often able to achieve lower rates by staying with one supplier, switching to a lower cost one, or returning to their previous supplier.
Quad play bundles become especially attractive if you need the new mobile WiFi and can coordinate data caps, data plans and bandwidth across the different services. Doing a bit of analysis and comparing plans in detail can save you substantial amounts on your telecommunications bill.
Quad Play Pitfalls
Carefully check all your offers to avoid signing up for a high-priced long-term contract that includes services you don’t need. You can usually get a bigger discount if you sign a contract, but make sure you know if the agreement includes an introductory price, which goes up after a given time. Sometimes a provider offers a low price, but the fine print says it goes back to the normal rate after six months.
Another aspect of your services you have to check is bandwidth and data use. Find out how much data you use on your current cellphone plan and how much bandwidth you use on your Internet connection. If there are caps in your new offers, they have to be high enough so you don’t end up paying penalties or surcharges.
Some contracts don’t allow changes or cancellation. If your situation may change over the life of the contract, get one that is flexible, even if there is a small change or cancellation fee. Unless you’re sure you will need the same services over the one or two years of the contract, you may sign and end up paying for a contract you’re not using.
There are other ways to save money on your telecommunication services in addition to signing up for a quad play and negotiating discounts. Often, the standard quad play bundle a provider offers includes high levels of service you don’t need. High Internet speeds, generous long distance plans and lots of cellphone minutes are expensive and are wasted if you don’t take advantage of them.
For example, you may be able to get your bundle at lower cost if you opt for a lower Internet speed. Most homes don’t need the super high speed of 20 to 50 Mbps offered by some providers. A speed of 10 or 15 Mbps is enough for the average household, even if several users are online at the same time.
If you have a smartphone, you need a complete mobile plan including data, but if you’re only making phone calls on a cell phone, a cheaper plan with a given number of minutes may save you money. Look for charges for texting and roaming, and decide whether you need such costs to be included in your plan.
Bundled plans can include long distance services, but there are many variations. If the service offered doesn’t meet your needs, you can usually leave it out of the bundle and get a long distance plan with another supplier. Look out for additional charges for such features as Caller ID, Call Waiting and Call Forwarding. You can sometimes reduce the cost of your plans by only choosing the features you need.
The Cable TV part of the quad play usually includes a number of channels. You may be able to save money if you reduce the number of channels in your bundle or if you change the channels that are included. Don’t forget, you can access some programs on the Internet and may not need the particular Cable TV channel to see shows you want to follow.
The key to saving money on any quad play is to compare plans and calculate the total costs. If you have a choice, compare the different plans from your providers. Once you know what you want, ask for a discount and change the package details to match your needs. It takes a bit of work, but you can save money this way.
CABLE & SATELLITE TV
STARTING AT: $2999/MO
STARTING AT: $1999/MO
HIGH SPEED INTERNET
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