One of the greatest ways service providers try to stand out to customers is by offering bundles that bring all the benefits of their TV, internet, phone and other services to your door at a discounted price.
But the big question is “Are bundles really better?” The short answer: Very likely so.
Bundles help you save
Providers save money by having customers buy multiple services from them, and as a result, they’re willing to pass some of those savings on to you to keep you as a loyal customer.
We’ve found that packaging internet, TV and home phone can save you up to $50 per month depending on the provider and the services you choose. The savings often come from adding home phone service to a TV and internet package, which is normally $25 or more per month.
Bundles on the run – your mileage may vary
By now, you’ve likely heard about many of the potential benefits of bundling, such as attractive introductory pricing rates (usually for the first year), getting a single, convenient bill and being able to buy all your services at once instead of comparing individual services and providers.
To enjoy these benefits, a number of factors come into play. Getting a great bundle deal depends on which companies serve your area and what technologies (cable, satellite, fiber or phone line) they’re using to bring internet, TV and home phone service into your house.
How to get the most out of your bundle
While bundles may be great for many people, combining all your services may not provide the perfect package for your individual needs. So, to get the most out of your bundle, here’s what you need to consider when comparing bundles and providers.
Price now and price later
Know what your rate is going to be once the bundle’s introductory period ends. Also, look at the different fees for each service in the bundle, as well as the installation costs, and see if your provider will waive them or offer rebates.
Contract terms and lengths
Not only is price important, but be sure to read the fine print on your bundle’s contract lengths as well. Confirm whether or not you must commit to a contract for a specified amount of time and if there will be early-cancellation fees.
Ease and availability
Since a number of providers offer a variety of services in the same location, it may be easier or smarter to use an existing connection to access a new connection type.
For example, a cable internet connection would use a cable TV coaxial cable running into your home to bring you the internet. So, tapping into that already-available technology might be easier than setting up an entirely new one.
Also, if there are more providers available to you in the same area, then there’s also more competition, which means the possibility of a better deal for you.
Add-ons and bonuses
Companies often include numerous incentives in bundles, offering features like unlimited calling, faster download speeds, premium programming, video on demand, an included DVR system and more.
As you familiarize yourself with the details of each bundle, be sure to compare their features side-by-side. As you discover the benefits of bundling, note everything extra you get. When you bundle, you may be able to improve your current service with enhanced calling features, add premium channels to your TV package and boost your internet speeds at no additional cost to you.
Building your own bundle and saving smartly
As the bundle pool gets more competitive, providers are giving customers even more customizable options. For example, rather than being stuck with a standard, bundled TV service that includes seemingly every channel, no matter how niche, XFINITY’s internet + Instant TV (a streaming service) bundle gives the customer more specific control. And XFINITY isn’t the only provider to offer skinny bundle options.
So as you pick and choose your preferred service features and channels, be sure to ponder some of the questions below. Your answers will help you determine what combinations are available to you, as well as what kind of service bundle you’ll need to get the connections you want.
Questions to ask as you shop for a bundle
- Are you trying to set up and run a smart home?
- Are you only emailing, or are you often streaming HD movies and shows online?
- Are you video chatting regularly with friends and family, or are you just scrolling through social media sites?
- What are the specific shows and movies you like to watch?
- Do you need a DVR to record these shows and movies, or do you have flexibility in accessing programming?
- Which premium channels do you need?
- Do you need certain family or sports programming?
- Do you watch on-the-go?
Home phone bundles
- How many local and long-distance calls do you make?
- How many people in your home will be sharing the line?
- Do you need enhanced phone features like, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding and Three-Way Calling?
Finally, keep in mind that the simplest method of saving money is often the most overlooked — negotiating. Most companies would rather have a consistent customer who gets a small discount rather than no customer at all. Just be attentive to the potential profit margin of an item or service. If the service is already extremely competitive or the price is regulated by the government, the provider won’t have much wiggle room for offering additional savings on top of what the bundle already brings.
And with that, may your bundling be bold and your savings be sweet.
Originally published 6/22/18. Last updated 12/20/18.