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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Orange AnyTime about to become NoTime

Bigish breaking news from ISP Review that Orange is about to sunset their Unmetered Dialup service, AnyTime. It looks like a pretty compelling offer to me – reduce your charges by £3/month and get a much faster DSL offering.

The process is quite interesting – AnyTime customers have 2 weeks to refuse to move or else they will receive a self install package in the post within 3 weeks and then the AnyTime service is turned off. Obviously, people still on dial-up are not going to be in the ultra-geek category and therefore customer support is probably going to be crucial in guiding the customers through the process. I suppose customers, who have ancient PCs which will not support broadband connections, can be “upgraded” to a free laptop type of offer to help retentions.

Orange state that the final switch-off is in December which probably means that Orange UK broadband subscriptions will receive a healthy shot in the arm during the whole of Q4. This is especially true when you consider that Orange still had 915k dial-up customers at the end of Q2 and that is compared to the DSL base of 1,004k. Admittedly quite a few of this 915k base will be PAYG dial-up and the Orange strategy for sunsetting these customers are yet to be revealed.

Update: Those narrowband and broadband customer figures were for 2q2006 not 2q2007, the relevant figures for 2007 are 471k narrowband and 1,090k broadband which still is statistically significant but highlights how quickly the narrowband is churning and it looks as if they didn’t churn to the Orange broadband service.

The rate of decline of this dial-up base has been quite rapid going to 471k from 915k and 1,497k twelve months and 24 months previously. Orange must have decided it is now time to move them over before they are lost to alternatives such as BT, Talktalk or Sky.

I would imagine that Orange have also a lot of legacy infrastructure services with which they will be able cancel the service contracts. These will include dialup modem bank ports, backhaul capacity and 0800 charges. I believe that the unlucky loser of all this revenue is Energis - now part of C&W.

The most interesting part will be to look at the Orange base and revenues in the New Year to see how the sunset operation has impacted.