First T-Mobile launched a tariff refresh, dropping
long-standing products Combi and Flext in favour of many more
flexible offerings for its consumers.
And now, just two months later, Orange has announced a very
similar set of changes in its business channel.
The T-Mobile changes, which took effect on 1 February, were
initially just available in the consumer space.
However, earlier this month, the operator announced that the
flexible booster options will be available on its headline
business plan, Business Unlimited.
There are many similarities across the two networks tariff
refreshes, from the language promoting the change down to the
detail of the tariffs themselves.
Orange SME segment director Martin Lyne is quick to dismiss this
and says: 'We refresh our tariffs once a year. This is obviously
independent [of the T-Mobile/Orange merger], we started doing
this in the late summer months of last year'.
However, despite the fact that Orange is asserting its
independence, others in the market remain sceptical, pointing at
the business tariff refresh as a sign of the two operators
aligning themselves due to the merger.
T-Mobile flexible booster tariffs are focused on 24 month plans,
and include a boost to Sim-only plans and a choice of unlimited
texts, landline, internet and calling abroad similar to the
offerings that Orange is on the verge of announcing.
On top of that and perhaps most interesting of all, both
operators have removed any differences in propositions between
indirect and direct channels.
In practice, that means T-Mobile dealers are now selling the same
products as T-Mobiles direct sales force, with the same situation
to emerge within Orange in the next few weeks.
All these factors together give legs to the rumours currently
circulating that T-Mobile and Oranges indirect channels will be
the first place where visible changes start to be seen.