Are Bundles Really Better?
As more and more companies wade into the home utilities pool, each one is trying to find a new way to make a splash. And one of the greatest ways these service providers have done just that is by offering bundles that bring all the benefits of their various services to your door – all at a discounted price.
But the big question that we care about is this: Are bundles really better? The short answer: Very likely so.
And here’s why: 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. But, if you want the longer answer behind why, then read below and learn for yourself – and your personal home services situation – whether the answer is a hard yes or no.
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, consistent, and more convenient bill; and making your services easier to buy from one vendor vs. shopping for each service individually. And, at its core, receiving all these benefits very much depends upon a number of factors – including which companies (and how many of them) exist in 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.
However, do keep in mind that 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: Know what your rate is going to be once the bundle’s introductory period ends. Also, look at the monthly fees for each service in the bundle, consider the upfront installation fees, 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 that you are committing to a contract for a specified amount of time and if there will be any early-cancellation fees.
- Ease and Availability: Since a number of providers usually offer a variety of services in the same location, it may be easier or smarter to use an existing connection to access another type as well. For example, a Cable Internet connection would use the Cable Television coaxial cable already running into your home to bring you the Internet as well. 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, a DVR system, and more. Use the Allconnect comparison tool to research all that you can get included with your new phone, TV and internet bundle.
As you’re familiarizing yourself with the details of each bundle, be sure to compare their features side-by-side. And as you’re seeing the benefits of bundling – as opposed to purchasing each home service separately – note everything extra you’re getting by ordering a TV, Internet, and Phone bundle. You may be able to update your home phone service with enhanced calling features, expand your TV package with additional premium channels, and add more speed to your Internet connection – all at no additional cost to you.
“Service providers save money with bundles, so they’re willing to pass that on to their loyal customers.”
Building Your Own Bundle and Saving Smartly
As the bundle pool gets more filled and competitive, providers are giving customers even more options to customize their bundles. For example, rather than being stuck with a standard, bundled TV service that includes seemingly every channel, no matter how niche, Verizon’s “skinny bundles” give the customers more specific control.
In addition to offering the usual base channels (including local television networks and cable networks AMC and CNN), Verizon Fios customers also have the option to choose among seven genre-specific channel packs. Better yet, as CNET reports, “channel packs can be swapped out after they’ve been on a customer’s account for 30 days, so you could switch between them based on what shows you’re interested in throughout the year.”
So as you’re picking and choosing your preferred features and channels, be sure to ponder these vital 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.
- Internet Bundles: Are you trying to setup 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?
- TV Bundles: 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?
- 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 and smart.