Although the idea was commended, dealers voiced concerns over whether customers would like the unstable pricing structure
Business Optimiser plans launched by Vodafone has been met with scepticism by its business mobile resellers.
Although some dealers commended the network for attempting to “shake up the industry,” concerns were also voiced over the potential for the price of airtime to change from month to month.
The Business Optimiser plans are designed to allow businesses to only pay for what its employees use. Allowance per tariff start at nothing and go up through the pricing tiers as the data usage grows. Vodafone says that they are designed to accommodate circumstances where extra data is needed.
However dealers said that, in their experience, businesses would prefer to pay a set price for the business mobile plans it provides employees.
The Word Telecom account manager Mitchell Tuff said: “Our customers like having a fixed price for the service we provide and like knowing what they are going to get so they can build a budget for the next year or two.
“So I don’t really understand why businesses would want to go almost to a pay-as-you-go sort of method, it seems a bit strange and there is no way to plan its spend on telecoms in the future.”
Another Vodafone dealer who wished to stay anonymous added: “I think businesses prefer to be charged a certain amount each month.
“Once you’ve signed a customer up to a contract they know what they are expected to use and they expect you to keep that usage within those parameters.
“The optimiser is good because it avoids bill shock but at the end of the day the customer is still going to be paying more than what they anticipated because they effectively have to buy a data bolt on.”
The Business Optimiser plans are being targeted at companies with over 250 employees and dealers commend Vodafone for attempting to address the issue of bill shock in the industry.
Fivebars managing director Martin Murphy said that, although the network are addressing a “gripe” that the industry has, it could do more.
He added: “Data overspend is the single biggest customer gripe we come across in all channels and getting it right is very difficult because one rogue user can ruin it for all.
“Capping has come in but I don’t think it goes far enough and there are data plans that are restricting usage in many cases to 60GB.
“If it works for Vodafone you can guarantee all the other networks will follow suit as all their plans are so similar anyway.”
However the anonymous dealer also added that there are already mobile device management (MDM) solutions available that can control more than just the data usage.
They said: “There are already have a lot of measures in place that can manage data usage and we’ve now got over 5,500 customers subscribed to those services.
“MDM is the only fool-proof way of managing data, setting caps and managing what applications employees have access to. For me, it’s better to control the data usage right from the outset than cap it.”
A Vodafone Spokesperson said: “We talked to many of our larger customers and they told us they’d like the option of a tariff that changes according to actual mobile data usage rather than buying a set amount of data each month. Business Optimiser provides a transparent mobile plan that ensures businesses won’t pay more for data and can protect themselves from the underutilisation of fixed tariff bundles and seasonality.
“We’ve embedded the ability to predict costs in Business Optimiser – with the option to set limits on what employees can use. Therefore businesses can, in fact, cap their costs at a similar rate to a standard tariff – but could pay less if employees don’t reach that limit.
“Obviously, Vodafone will continue to offer a wide range of mobile tariffs for business that meet every requirement; but we are happy to offer this new and different approach for businesses that may prefer it.”