Finding an ISP. Searching for a point of difference

After weeks of waiting, I checked this site and found that the strange men in hanging around a chorus van had managed something more than giving something my dog to bark at (besides the mail man).

UFB (Ultra-Fast Broadband) had finally arrived. All I needed was a plan to take advantage of it.

My history as a broadband customer.

Modem

For the past 5 years or so, I have been a loyal ADSL customer of World Exchange. WXC, when I signed up was the only ISP that let you select a data ceiling and still only pay for the data that you used and not the capped limit.

The icing on top of this was that they also offered a large number of unmetered traffic. Anything off their own servers, the local Akamai cache and a number of other places meant that I was able to update my Linux builds and watch the WWE Network to my hearts content without ever reaching my data cap.

Many months, my usage was closer to 200GB, but as must was local, I often was not charged beyond 15GB.

This was a point of difference between them and all of their competitors and the reason for choosing them in the 1st place.

Alas, as all great service plans that ever existed, this one was grandfathered and new plans.were brought in.

Now I could have stayed where I was on this original plan, but MORE Speed, MORE Power had been beckoning me for some time.

.morePower

We appreciate your custom but won’t try to keep you.

I have always been happy with World Exchange. I am not the sort of person that demands much in the way of support, but on the occasions that I needed it, they were there in helpful and immediate.

They keep a presence on geekzone and have been a pleasure to deal with.

My problem with them, and really the rest of the residential broadband suppliers in New Zealand is that there is little to no competitive edge. No point of difference like that which brought me to them in the 1st place.

Most NZ ISPs seem to offer much the same when it comes to UFB and homephone plans. Unlimited Data for ~ $99 locked in for a minimum of a year.

WXC was much the same. Before deciding to move to another I contacted their (ever helpful) support team to ask if there was anything that they could/would do to retain my business given the enticements other companies were offering such as 2 months free, faster speeds, pay TV deals, and no-term-contracts.

Alas, the line given to me (again in a professional and helpful way) was that while they agree that there were competitive offers out there by other companies. They did not have any such enticements of matching deals.

The search was on:

The contenders

So after some Googling, Facebooking, and Twittering (Follow me) I had a few contenders lined up:

The information you are reading here was what these companies were offering while I was considering a new ISP and may no longer be correct. I in no way endorse the use of this site as a practical ISP comparison tool. – Please keep your lawyers off me.

Company

Pros

Why Not Selected

If only you were in Auckland

Now

Best Price/Package

Full service not available in Auckland

Nex

1st Month Free

Great calling rates

Global Mode

Extra cost for homephone package and setup charges

Slingshot

2 Months Free

One of the More Expensive

One of the big boys (I like to root for the underdog)

Unlimited Internet

No fixed term contract

Extra cost for homephone package

More costs for other extras – Call Waiting, caller ID, Voice Mail that were provided by others free.

Compass Communications

Full Phone package:

Faster Speed

One of the more expensive considered

Voyager Internet

Full Phone package:

Faster Speed

Lower cost with full package

The conclusion

So for those who have made it this far, and actually read what I have had to say, Voyager was my final choice.

It was a close call between Voyager and Compass. In the end, when comparing two almost identical offerings, price was the winner on the day.

At the time of writing, I have been with Voyager now for 2 months and had no need to contact them after the set up which was completed quickly and effortlessly.

Final comment

When you don’t have a monopoly, you need a point of difference to attract and retain customers. The NZ ISP market has many players all offering very similar products. I feel it is a shame that most of these companies feel the need to lock you in as a customer to a long term contract. It limits customer choice and sets off alarms in the paranoid side of my brain.

Without something worthwhile to set you apart from informed customers, price will likely be the only deciding factor.

This is what it boiled down to in my search.

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