[Record] [Update] Plans, Phones, Chatel Act, Price … What to do and where to go when it comes to engage with an operator?

[Upd] Added two new components to our dossier on the Chatel law and how to use it.

Six months after the arrival of Free Mobile, small review of data packages with different operators, the prices of different offers and major smartphones.

Introduction

Compare packages “discovery smartphone”

Comparison packages “hard core internet user”

A point on the possibilities offered by the Chatel law

Use the Chatel law and change before offering from the most cost effective solution?

Where to buy the phone?

What hides behind the price of a package

Conclusion: Lessons from this folder

1- Introduction

It’s been six months that Free Mobile has landed on the French market for mobile telephony. We remember the incredible waiting had aroused Xavier Niel at the end of 2011, beginning his buzz campaign based rockets and HTML codes. It was however nothing compared to what would happen to us January 10, 2012 at 9:00 tapante when CEO Illiad go up on stage.

The wait was finally ended and we would know what we would offer Free. Rumor was at its peak and we had heard. Some said that Free subscribers would pay nothing and that the millions of ADSL subscribers simply receive a free SIM card with credit on it. Others had pulled out the calculator to come to the conclusion that it was impossible and that the promise of Xavier Niel down 50% the average price of packages was economically unfeasible.

And then boom, while at 9am this Jan. 10, we knew nothing, less than an hour later, we went from waiting in disbelief. Amazement had gained while some disappointment, even the most complete disillusionment, governed the others.

Six months later, grief and joy are behind us, the competitors have adapted and the market has changed. What appeared to us as an oddity – separate payment of the package of the phone – it now seems a little less. For some, it’s even become almost natural if not “normal.”

This folder is to make a quick overview of operators and their offers to try to take stock of what is most interesting for the consumer.

To make the comparison as fair as possible, we will observe the packages over a period of 24 months. Thus, SIM Only operators and MVNOs can be compared to the three major domestic operators.

We will also compare various phones to be as exhaustive as possible. We observe the Galaxy SIII (the test to find here) and IBS (test here), the iPhone 4S, the Lumia 900 (find a presentation on Frawin.com) and finally the HTC ONE X.

Since we talk about smartphones, we will compare the operators taking into consideration the offers with Internet use. We decided to make two comparisons

a comparison with packages offering internet cost that we called “discovery smartphone.” The idea is to compare offers with some data for those new to the smartphone and internet use on it.

A further check of the “hard core internet user” packages for the richest data packages corresponding benefits to the public geek who downloads without stopping apps, watch TV on their smartphone, listen to streaming radio. In short, that intensive use internet on their phone.

2 Comparison of packages “discovery smartphone”

The term “discovery” lower cost internet package offering for a wider audience.

We selected among three incumbents closest deals on price and options. The only real difference here between the three operators is the Data option, 500MB for Orange and Bouygues against only 250 MB for SFR.

For other operators, it was more difficult to choose homogeneous packages. Free and B & You only have one offer with the data so we had to bring up these two deals in the two comparisons. Sosh is in a slightly different situation since it offers offers a bit cheaper than its competitors with more limited services in both call and data.

For MVNOs, prices are a little more expensive for services not necessarily more interesting since calls are limited (though important in hours). The limitations mainly concern the Data portion limited to 500MB in NRJ Mobile and 250 MB in the Mobile Station. Moreover, none of the three MVNO cited here offers the modem mode in its packages.

Regarding the price of phones, fortunes are very diverse. The operators Orange, SFR and Bouygues are generally cheaper than others thanks to a historic political subsidy phones in the monthly fee. MVNOs also follow this trend as Free, Sosh and B & You only subsidize margin phones. They are advantages with a view of the cost price with a less expensive package but more expensive phones.

With a package at € 14.90 less than its direct competitors, B & YOU and Free, Sosh allows itself to be well positioned on the overall cost to 2 years for a package “discovery smartphone.” The package is, as we have said, more limited than the package € 19.90 that offers Sosh and competes Free and B & YOU, but it is also more suitable for non-specialist audience of smartphones and that does not pass its living on the internet or by telephone.

This package is perfect for those who want a phone with a small internal package t to discover the use smartphone without breaking the bank. With this package, you will make a minimum saving of € 100 compared with packages of competition. So it’s really a bargain especially as Sosh belongs to the Orange group and uses this as its network is of high quality.

3- comparison of packages “hard core internet user”

By “hard core internet user” means here the rich data packages that match benefits to the public geek who downloads without stopping apps, watch TV on their smartphone, listen to streaming radio. In short, that intensive use internet on their phone.

We decided to take the high-end packages incumbents. We nevertheless observed in the sort packages to set aside those offering international options (both for roaming for calls).

This distinction being made, it is observed that the offer of Orange is more expensive, in consideration of many services included in the offer (subscription served streaming music Deezer Premium Orange Cineday etc …)

The other notable difference e etween the three operators concerning the Data section. Sfr only offers only 1 GB of monthly data against 3GB for its competitors. If you want to eat more, it will buy refills. This difference up the offer of € 10 Sfr below its competitors with a price of € 49.

As regards the other operators, there are again two different camps.

MVNOs are significantly more expensive than Free, Sosh and B & You for equivalent or lower services. Please note that this difference is to be compared the price of the phone as MVNOs subsidize part of the price of the phones in the packages, which – as we have said before – do not make the three other operators.

Virgin Mobile and NRJ Mobile require consumers to commit to several months to get a discount. This is the main difference from the Mobile Station that will offer you the same offer (albeit with less data) without commitment. What you gain in independence, so you lose some data.

Sosh, B & You and Free are cheaper here, without obligation and with offers less limited than the MVNO. As we shall see in the following, you still pay your more expensive phones with them.

Incumbent operators that offer more expensive packages are catching up by offering cheaper phones to accompany packages. This corresponds to the subsidy policy that we mentioned earlier and is more visible here. No phone is here to more than 200 € for these operators except the iPhone 4S 16GB at SFR.

We chose to compare the rather high end phones except the Galaxy SII which is now beginning to accuse the prime of life. This is felt since, from the latter, no phone is available for € 1. Let us evoke also the problem of availability of terminals. It may be noted for example that the Lumia 900 is only offered on the Orange network while the iPhone is not offered by NRJ Mobile and the Mobile station. Finally, there is the case of the HTC One X which is also distributed under the ONE S even though it no longer exclusive contract on this phone and it is very interesting in terms of features. Here is also the link to the test for the curious.

Free and Sosh seem to be the most interesting in the study configuration. In the case of a top package of internet range, the advantage is given to Free. Sosh the package is more expensive 5 euros per month but offers some phones with better rates. Sosh also offers many phones while Free phones shop is more limited than currently.

For Virgin Mobile, we decided to use the offer Extaz M but another offer exists, the Extaz XL package entitles you to purchase a cheaper smartphone. Only when calculated over 24 months, this package seems less interesting, at least in the studied configuration. We have therefore chosen not to retain it as part of our comparison and instead use the package Extaz Mr.

Finally, we can still say that the arrival of Free Mobile has been beneficial since it is well its offers (and those of its closest competitors) that are the most interesting in both configurations we decided to to study.

The price difference of 24 months is consistent with differences of € 700 to € 800 between the most attractive prices and those less interesting. Still remember that there is a little over 2 years, MVNOs accounted for only a small share. So we can say that the average price of packages has decreased over the last two years.

Nevertheless, it is difficult to say what was the impact of these tariffs on Free as the operator arrived only in January this year but we can imagine that incumbents, feeling the wind change direction, began working on new deals before ARCEP will sign the official arrival of Free. So they began testing new offerings primarily through branches that are MVNOs, Sosh and B & You. The consequence was an earlier price cut to the arrival of Free although this decline has accelerated since the beginning of September 2011 at the imminent arrival of the new operator.

That seems a bit easy to say that telephone operators have anticipated the arrival of Free but remember they knew the strategy of Free because it was the same approach as for ADSL and Xavier Niel had stopped saying what he would do. In addition, the package market is a market where changes are made in the period and where anticipation is essential. Indeed, operators are considering their offers taking into consideration that they usually commit their client over a period of 12 or 24 months. During this period, prices and services only change the margin and certainly not declining. So it is best to do well his first calculations. It was therefore necessary for operators think well before the arrival of the fourth operator to the commitment of their customers by offering them interesting enough deals to keep them engaged.

As we will see later in this issue, there are nevertheless other factors to consider other than price that explain these differences in tariffs between operators. All operators do not in fact offer the same service or the same quality with its packages.

In conclusion, although we can still say that the difference is significant and largely to the benefit of operators Free, Sosh and to a lesser extent B & You. But is it possible to pay even cheaper by going get his phone away from home its operator? This is what we will try to meet with the next part of this.

4- A point on the possibilities offered by the Chatel law

The Chatel law was created in 2008 to increase competition with a component specifically to telecoms and periods of commitment. This law prohibits particular deadlines for commitments in excess of 24 months. It also made it easier and cheaper for consumers to opt out of an operator for people engaged for 24 months.

So when you are hired by an operator, you have 3 options: Do not engage or then commit to 12 or 24 months. For the last two possibilities if you wish to cancel your pre-term mobile phone contract, there are 2 scenarios

12 month subscription: you have to pay the entirety of the remaining payments

24-month subscription: there are 2 parts: you have to pay the entirety of the remaining payments until the 12th month and 25% of the sum of the remaining payments from the 13th month and the 24th month. This is what provides the Chatel Act.

The early termination resulting in the loss of the phone number unless you make a portability request. For this, you simply subscribe to the new operator with whom you want to go RIO stating your number. This code is available by calling 3179 between 6h and 22h with your current operator. (Free call, except in Prixtel).

If you opt for this choice, the operator will take care of everything and you just have to wait for your SIM card and return the documents required to complete your file.

Caution, however, to qualify for the Chatel law in connection with a 24 month commitment, be sure to wait to start your 13th month commitment. If you do it before, it is not sure that you return as part of the Chatel law (ie the payment of 25% of the sum of the 13th month to last month commitment).

Indeed, ARCEP noted in a late 2010 report that all operators do not have the same behavior from the Chatel law in connection with a termination by the end of 24 months. Thus, while Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Virgin Mobile were charging 25% after the 12th month, SFR and NRJ Mobile were paid the entire cost of the remaining payments by estimating the Chatel law did not provide for this scenario. I have not been able to find accurate and consistent information on what it is today so check with your carrier to be on if you are in this case.

If we can withdraw prematurely, it may be interesting to commit to 24 months and then leave after 13 months by paying 25% of the remaining payments. What is it really? This is what we will try to see now.

If we take the packages discussed in our case, only Bouygues Telecom, Orange and Sfr offer packages with 24-month commitment and with enough interesting mobile subsidies for the calculation can be made.

Indeed, NRJ Mobile and Virgin Mobile also offer engagement for 24 months but package prices are more attractive because the subsidy mobile is less consistent. It is not interesting to integrate the calculation.

We therefore compared the 3 operators in 2 new offering the most attractive offers following our previous calculations. It has taken the 3 most popular phones of the moment coming from 3 different manufacturers to make comparisons.

Given the calculation, it is not interesting to commit to 24 months to leave after 12 complete months. It is best to choose an operator directly without commitment by paying their phone without subsidy. Still remember that the purpose of the Chatel law was not to reduce prices but reduce the duration of commitments to avoid customer captivity in the same operator.

5- Use the Chatel law and want to change before leaving, the most cost effective solution?

I saw that some advised in comments to commit to 24 months and from the end of a year with its first package down to the 25% of the remaining payments to be paid correspond to a smaller sum.

The first thing to look for that is whether it is possible and how much it costs if it is not free. The second is to remember to unlock the phone before leaving the operator. The following is to be very complicated as to be simply impossible hotlines operators are not very customer oriented services even if it is their object. Still, in terms of phone unlocking, French law says it is free after 3 months. Having clarified we can return to our comparisons.

So we were searching on the operators of the sites to try to find the conditions to change plans. Here’s what we found

Orange, if we take the last price plan, the d’offres change is possible but the conditions depend on the package and the timing of change want.

I’ve put the summary table to retain information but just for the package that we observe (69 €) conditions are € 180 for 6 months and 90 € after 6 months. If we had taken a cheaper package, the conditions would be different but that says less expensive package, said cheaper or less interesting services subsidies. Knowing that this package is the only one to offer 3 GB of data and need to spend more than € 48.90 for more than 500 MB (with the Origami Star package € 49.90), we would in any case obliged pay the same amount for change want.

So we decided to change want to go to the cheapest M6 Mobile Blocked 1 hour to 14.90 € in the framework of a 24-month commitment with unlimited SMS.

Bouygues Telecom, is what the website says

“You can change your plan if you are Client Package Individuals for more than 3 months (1). This change in supply is not re-engaging unless you change to

• Eden a package with 24 months commitment by subscribing for the first time the confidence Advantage • Eden Eco release package with commitment 12 months ”

The offering change Bouygues Telecom has guided us towards the offer to € 14.90 with the same conditions that Orange: 1h calling and unlimited text messages.

Finally SFR says this on its website

So we move to an offer at 29 € which corresponds to the square offers connect with 2 hours of calls, unlimited SMS and MMS and 250 MB internet.

Let us now reflect on what it costs. We will make two projections

– A departing after 6 months offer change

– A departing after 12 months after changing offers

You see it, seeking to pay the lowest possible via the use of various devices available, the cards are reshuffled and other enterprises appear competitive. This is the case of Bouygues Telecom is always interesting here in the case of a withdrawal after 7 months. This comes from the package chosen for the change of supply (far more competitive than Sfr) but also the price of the original package, cheaper than Orange.

Caution, however, we have tried to create such comparisons taking into account the plans of changing conditions that are more than brief. Without being customer of an operator in a position to change plans and therefore access to possible new price and the costs of change, we can only extrapolate. Thus we have chosen to take the package prices given as part of a commitment to 24 months without being assured that it is these prices that are actually available. It is the same for the packages switching costs.

still we can say that unless you want to change operator every 6 months, it is best to choose from the start its operator and stay there for a period of 12 or 24 months. And in that game, it is always Free and Sosh that are most interesting – what’s more if you find your phone even cheaper than in the shops of these two operators.

This is even more true that to change operator regularly requires you to be unreachable during the change and / or unable to fully use your phone. The gain is minimal given it up to the sacrifices and complications that entails? We think not, but everyone is free to draw its conclusion that what he considers most important.

6- Where to buy your phone?

We have just seen that the most interesting operators for 2 packages we chose to study were Free, Sosh and B & You. Now these 3 operators offer non-binding offers with a separation between payment of the mobile and the package. This means that you can come to this operator with your own smartphone or phone without having to reinvest in a new mobile. This also means that you can also buy a new phone away from home this operator.

We’ll try to see where is it is better to buy the phone: from the operator, the manufacturer or through an intermediary?

The comparison here is to the benefit of operators. We can estimate that the ability to negotiate price volumes allows operators to offer better prices to consumers.

We can nevertheless advise you to look much the price of the phone that you want to obtain and do not hesitate to compare prices. Observe the competition can afford to get the best price especially as more and more promotional offers are available on the websites of dealers and in opérateurs.Au seen from the calculation, it is not interesting to commit to from 24 months to complete after 12 months. It is best to choose an operator directly without commitment by paying their phone without subsidy.

In short, a smartphone with a comfortable package in internet data without breaking the bank, this is possible but you need cash, wait for the right moment and jump on opportunities.

Be careful though to blockage of phones. Bought a phone from an operator is often blocked on its network. To use the network of another operator, it will either pay the unlocking (price varies according to the phone), or wait for a minimum period of 3 months after purchase in order to unlock it for free.

7- What is behind the price of a package

To create this file, we decided to compare the operators on similar packages taking as a guiding principle the two elements that seem most important: the internet and price.

We compared the operators leaving many side items related to the services offered by some.

Thus, the three incumbents for example have a network of stores that can explain – at least in part – the cost differential compared to other operators. While Free, Sosh or B & You offer services only via the Internet, Orange, Bouygues Telecom and Sfr are accessible through shops that dot the territory. This element can greatly influence the consumer’s purchasing decision and we had it for a talk. Indeed, for these operators, you can go to complain in shops and we will answer you directly, face to face. Some operators nevertheless start filtering the comings and goings of shops asking customers before moving into a shop to contact the operator’s hotline to try to resolve the problem.

These same three incumbents are also the only ones to have antennas throughout the country (side allowed Free which is just beginning to roll out its network). This antenna array obviously has a cost that must be amortized over the proposed packages. Roussat Olivier, CEO of Bouygues Telecom said in an article in Les Echos dated July 2 that the various operators invested 600 million € and 1 billion € per year in network.

Other operators also participate in network investments through what they pay as part of roaming contracts with the big 3. Thus, Virgin Mobile customers are using the Orange network. Free has also signed a roaming agreement with Orange for mobile subscribers Free can use the 2G network and 3G thereof. Rumor that Free would pay more than 1 billion euros per year for this roaming agreement.

The last element to be observed when comparing the operators is that of service policy. It is often said that incumbents are more flexible and tend to make gifts easier than MVNOs to retain customers. This is also the case in connection with renewal operations. We remember for example that Orange had added loyalty points to its iPhone customers so they can re-engage at a lower cost for 12 or 24 months.

All these elements that we can not easily compare also be taken into account when one wishes to engage in an operator. They represent a cost for operators, cost which is partly reflected in ticket prices and that may explain the difference in competitiveness between these operators and others.

8- Conclusion: Lessons from this folder

Now that we have studied both scenarios, it is time to take stock of what we have learned

1 – incumbents are less competitive than other operators even if they are catching on additional services

2 – For the scenarios studied, Free, Sosh and B & YOU are the most interesting. On packages with internet, Sosh seems to have an advantage over its competitors in the small package “discovery smartphone” while Free is more profitable for the big package “hard core internet user”

3 – It is more interesting to buy a phone full price rather than subsidized several months as part of a package

4 – Buy a phone with its operator is not necessarily the most interesting. It is better to compare prices and do not hesitate to buy on sites that specialize in selling phones in other operators

5- I added a fifth that is very important: There is no perfect package to suit everyone.

We must start by knowing their needs and from there, compare different offers to bring out the best offer for his profile.

Another element must also be taken into account is the loyalty benefit you can receive. Your internet service provider can for example offer you a discount on your mobile plan or offer a quadruple play, making its offers more competitive than those studied here.

So do not hesitate to compare, observe and make its calculations to find the deals and the most attractive prices for you.

In any case, since the arrival of Free Mobile, Sosh and B & You, the packages of the market has become more dynamic and uncertain. This is why we advise you to commit for months in the same operator. Commitments to 24 months should be avoided because even through the Chatel law, the disengagement conditions were much easier, it’s not a panacea. therefore prefer a commitment for 12 months or no commitment at all. Indeed, whereas before it was more interesting to commit to benefit from a substantial reduction on the phone today, commitments to 24 months will bring much more to the consumer.

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