Are your bills starting to add up? Are you considering a bundle? We explain what bundles are, and whether it’s actually cheaper for you to bundle things like your cable, phone, and internet.
Firstly, bundling is when you combine multiple services with a single provider. Purportedly doing so gives you a better deal because companies try to boost the amount of revenue they get from each customer and lock them into longer contracts.
For example: You currently get your home phone through Comcast. Your internet comes from AT&T and your cable package is with DISH. All three companies want to get more revenue from you as their customer so they offer Telecom bundles where you can switch to DISH for all three of the services or Comcast for all three of these services.
When you make the switch, companies offer different price deductions based on the bundles you get and they make you sign new contracts for the most part that are usually 1-year or 2-year in length. They will offer what is called a triple play whereby you get all three services: a landline phone, internet, and cable together.
It is not necessarily cheaper to bundle your home internet, phone and cable together. There are plenty of add on fees that might come a few months after your contract starts.
For example: Time Warner Cable provided a special digital cable package with internet. The digital cable package said it had 200 channels that were HD and the internet was 10 megabytes per second with free installation for both. The total cost said it was $75 per month. However, if you choose to record HD using your DVR that comes at an additional cost of $18 per month and if you need a wireless router because you don’t have one personally that comes out an extra $5 per month. This means that the deal of $75 can very quickly become $100 every month which might very well be what you are already paying or more.
Where the costs are concerned, you don’t always have to settle for what is offered. A lot of these companies areTelecom bundles but the fine print says that it’s for new customers only so the deal you think you are getting if you are an existing customer is not nearly as good as the one they are giving to new customers.
If your contract is coming to an end with Comcast, for example, and you are thinking of giving up your home phone exchange for a bundle, you can try to haggle with the company to get an even lower deal on things like table packages or faster internet. Make sure you have an idea of what other companies are offering for comparison and you can say that you want to take advantage of the new customer deals or you will quit the company.
There are fluctuating deals that companies offer. AT&T for example offered prepaid Visa cards to customers who made the switch to a bundle up to $350. But this prepaid Visa card was based on what type of bundle and obviously the higher valued cards were given to those who purchased internet, U-verse television, and a home line together.
Similarly, Comcast offered Visa gift cards recently worth $200 to people who signed up for the Triple Play bundle. But these offers come and go and they typically require a full bundle not just adding one or two services to what you already have.
There can be risks to getting all of your services from one company. There might also be reasons why you simply don’t want to.
For example, you might not want a landline or you don’t necessarily need 200 cable channels and yet the bundle packages require you get all three services so you end up paying for something you don’t actually need.
Moreover, many people today are switching to a la carte streaming services for movies and television shows directly to their television or their computer so they don’t need cable packages at all and the benefit of bundling cable with phone and internet simply isn’t viable. Even if you try to break apart your bundle, companies like Comcast might force you to stay with all three of your services.
When you have a bundle, and things get tough, you might choose to pay for critical services like making sure you have a landline in the event of emergencies but then you are late on the cable part of your bill. Companies have been known to shut off your more crucial services, like your landline, if you fall behind on payments for cable or internet service.
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