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Big Time plan bites the dust

20 May 2010

The Big Time broadband plan was launched in July last year and offered unlimiteddata for $59.95 a month, or $10 extra with an existing home bundle offer.Telecom was upfront in stating that Big Time traffic would be “shaped”, meaningthat during peak hours (3pm – 10pm) customer’s download and upload speeds couldbe slower than those customers on plans with data caps.

When announcing the plan director of home services RalphBrayham said Big Time was designed to appeal to customers looking for “pricecertainty” – that is, they didn’t want to be stung with additional usagecharges at the end of the month because they’d exceeded their data cap. Telecom’s research suggested Big Time will appeal to around 15% of thepopulation.

It appears that many high-end users were amongthose that signed up to Big Time, and their concerns about it were aired in avigorous and ongoing discussion on the Geekzone site. Telecom chose to announceBig Time’s demise on Geeksite forum this morning in a post by a Telecom NZcontributor ‘Doozy’, he wrote:  “We are conscious we have a number of customers who enjoy using aplan with no monthly data allowance, that’s why Telecom is the only ISP thathas made successive attempts to give customers this innovation. Unfortunatelyit is simply proving unviable. The management of traffic on the plan has becomeparticularly difficult and we simply cannot keep it in market.” 

Big Time was not the first time that Telecom offered a plan without data caps.In 2006 it launched the Go Large plan, which promised unlimited data at topspeeds. It was extremely popular and attracted 60,000 customers. However thehigh-end users soon complained that the speeds were significantly slower thanwhat was advertised. Three months after it was launched Telecom admitted it hadmistakenly throttled back the speeds of every customer on the plan, not justthose who had seriously exceeded the data limit laid down in the terms andconditions. The mistake cost Telecom millions of dollars in compensation.