News out of the Optus pricing arena, seems to suggest they are trying to fight an inevitable network saturation issue.
Recently, the optus website has new conditions added which state that you will be charged excess usage on new signups to fusion plans, before shaping to 64kbps is applied for the 2 and 7GB plans.
Virgin, which is an Optus child, also saw severe changes, which put prices up, and reduced quota on its $60 plan, and took P2P speeds down to a new low of 32kbps (ouch!).
So, when you consider these changes, which seem targetted at fighting an inevitable link upgrade, we conclude that Optus are trying to devalue the service offered for new customers, in a manner that might see the new customers looking at broadband differently and the perception might change, accepting poor value broadband.
The good news with Optus’s changes are that they limit the damage to a customer. Rather than give them damaging multi million dollar bills like Telstra has the oppourtunity to do, they cap the excess usage charges at $300.
This activity will naturally bring about more funding for Optus to perhaps fund a link upgrade should they need one. I don’t see why else they would take such drastic measures otherwise, unless the network was being run down with high bandwidth consumption, and that was affecting other users experiences.
Wait. That did happen! There were complaints about problems with Optus related ADSL2+ services from Exetel suffering speed issues due to problems that they were having (that were fixed).
So, I’m only speculating here, but my guess is that they are running out of bandwidth on their circuits and don’t want to push an upgrade through just yet, so instead, they will simply try and work better with what they have.
I could be wrong and they could be simply dropping the value in their plans for another reason, but I don’t see how or why they would with such a tough marketforce.
Counting Uploads is something they started doing with the release of the plans, and so did iiNet with the Naked DSL plans, which suggests to me that ISPs are seeing surges of traffic going outbound, and where previously they were avoiding saturated downstream traffic, they are also doing the same upstream.
I guess my point here is why on earth do you devalue a product in a competitive marketplace? “Cost” comes to mind, and the costs of upgrading a network would certainly fit with the current decisions.