UK based Telecoms Company; TalkTalk is now one of the UK’s largest broadband and home phone suppliers. They have over 4 million home customers and a further one million business users and they have just launched TalkTalk Mobile, in a bid to offer both simplicity and great value in the mobile phone market.
This new service is an extension to a little known mobile broadband service which they currently offer through piggybacking Vodafone’s network on SIM only contracts. This new venture will again use Vodafone, but this time consumers will be offered a range of smartphones including the very popular and successful Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X.
Essentially, TalkTalk will provide any of the range of mobiles available for free and then prices will range from £5 to £30 per month based on a twenty four month contract (a penalty will have to be paid to leave the contract any earlier), depending on the standard of phone selected. They claim to be able to offer these prices on a range of up to 50 phones from Samsung, Blackberry and HTC, but unfortunately this range does not include the iPhone due to its premium and restrictive pricing as determined by Apple.
Phones at the budget end of £5 per month include the Samsung Galaxy Y and the Nokia Asha 201, whilst £10 per month will give you a Blackberry Curve 9320. The £25 per month plan includes the HTC One X and for a further £5 per month you could own the Samsung Galaxy Note which starts at £30 per month.
To be able to qualify for these prices you do however have to be one of TalkTalk’s existing broadband and phone customers. The deal is initially being targeted at families, as the mobile packages include free calls between TalkTalk mobiles of family members in a single household and to their home landline too. In targeting its existing customers, TalkTalk’s strategy is to boost the revenue that they make from each household by offering a landline, broadband and mobile package in the same way as Virgin Media.
The pricing structure is tiered, small will give you: 100 inclusive minutes of call time for phoning friends and family, 250 texts and 100MB of data for internet browsing and music and video streaming. Medium includes: 300 inclusive minutes, 3000 texts and 500 MB of data. Large will give you a mighty 1000 inclusive minutes, 3000 texts and 2GB of data to allow streaming and downloading to your heart’s content. To subscribe to the scheme you can phone, but if you take up the offer online through their new TalkTalk Mobile site mobile.talktalk.co.uk, they will double up the data element of each of the levels, giving you 200 MB, 1GB or 4GB depending on the option chosen.
Before signing up to any of these deals, it’s worth looking at the costs you’ll incur for exceeding your number of minutes, texts or data limit as the costs can be high at 30p per minute and 5p per additional MB. Customers will however be sent a text by TalkTalk once they have reached 80% of their paid for allowance, helping them to stay in control of their usage and prevent them ending up with an unexpected bill.
The Commercial Director of TalkTalk, Tristia Clark commented that:
"If you look at phone and broadband packages, they’re cheaper now than they were five years ago. TalkTalk led the way in bringing better value to the market and we’re doing it again with our mobile offers, saving customers even more…..We want to do in mobile what we did in broadband, and that’s to bring greater competition and choice and offer the best value to our customers…..We have stripped out all the unnecessary costs, which are passed on in monthly bills, in order to offer the best value to our customers."
TalkTalk has recently also ventured into broadband television services by offering its Plus package customers the opportunity to own a YouView set-top box to watch TV over the internet. This is currently only at a pre-registration stage, where customers can sign up online and request a box to be sent to them. There are seven partners involved in YouView including the BBC, ITV, BT, Channel 4 and Five and is set to launch in the UK later this year.
These deals will certainly be of interest to some; in particular light phone users who would love to own a smartphone but without the upfront cost and it may prove very cost effective for households with multiple mobiles because of the free calls between them. But under closer scrutiny TalkTalk’s claim to be the best value in the market does not necessarily transpire, highlighting the need for consumers to shop around both online and in store to get the best priced mobile and call package suitable for all their needs from a range of mobile networks.