Let’s be honest about value!

Simon Woodhead

Simon Woodhead

23rd April 2020

By Simon Woodhead

We have really two peers in the UK, one to the north, one to the east. We know many of our customers have accounts with more than one of us. There are also those in the death star, as well as those to our south who like to tie everyone up with a sneaky NDA. It is important to us that we offer the best value in the market-place, but value means different things to different people.

To many, a modern maintained and stable network matters. To others, industry leading APIs and fraud-control is what it is about. For some, it is looking in isolation at the only component that isn’t already cheaper in and expecting it to be. Others will take it a stage further, fanny about in a spreadsheet and get the comparison completely wrong, as we’ve explained before!

Last year, we began running price-matching algorithms against our peers to ensure we were competitive at that micro level. That has had 8 or so months to run and warrants revisiting.

We’re also coming to the end of the week we applied CLI filtering, and those rates which were affected by the cost surcharges (on calls to EU destinations mostly) due to invalid CLI have settled in many cases. We talked before about how one of our peers pretend they don’t exist (and need to make up elsewhere), and others seem to assume 100% of calls will attract the maximum surcharge. We’ve always based our assumed surcharge on cost, and your work to enable us to turn on CLI filtering means that cost looks much better.

So, having run our May 1st rates, with no specific promotions (just the usual algorithmic output), I thought it might warrant some comparison to see how things were working.

Well, of course there are some destinations where we’re 100% cheaper than peers – US Toll Free for example where we’re a licensed carrier in the US (15 States now), and the 101 non-emergency number where we actually did what the Home Office asked last month.

Beyond that though, the results are staggering! First, you need to understand that this is not spreadsheet muppetry of the type we’ve criticised. We have far more breakouts than our peers in many cases and thus may charge different rates for different mobile networks in a country, rather than a blended rate for all as they do. So, we rebill all calls against their rates so we can see what they would have charged for a call, then group by our breakouts for comparison. This highlights where their codes are wrong and stealth charges are sneaking in, e.g. major UK mobile networks being billed as at a much higher rate of 11p (or nearly 18p in one case) versus our 0.683p at the Startup level.

Now, you might discount that as a one-off that I’ve picked on, so hear this: comparing the death star and our peers east and north, and looking at price differences where we are 50% or more less, how many do you think there are? I’ll tell you. There are 13 where we are more than 50% cheaper than all of them at the same time. Individually it is 55 for one, 114 for another, 50 for another. Crazy eh?

And for the record, we’re talking about serious destinations here that you have traffic to, like Europe. France, we’re 97% cheaper than one, 80% than another – 26p or 3.2p vs our 0.66p. Netherlands 97% and 95% – the difference between 26p, 17p and our 0.8p! Belgium 93-94% across all three. Austria, Spain, China, Germany – the list goes on and on!

Keep three other things in mind:

  • Where one of them is pricing keenly, we’ll match it if we can (automatically)
  • We’re comparing our Startup Gold rates here. Virtual Interconnect and Managed Interconnect get much more aggressive.
  • We buy and route based on quality – we do not do ‘cheap’ routes.

So the lesson here is if your route selection is done manually, you probably ought to look at it because you’re likely getting screwed at the time we all need to be legitimately cost-conscious. Let us have CDRs if you want us to produce a comparison showing exactly what we would have charged you.

And of course, please stay safe and let us know if there’s any way we can help.

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