By Grahame Davies
It’s been quite a while since we have reviewed our service categories and we have taken a long hard look at where we would like to offer better value, have a closer relationship with our customers and provide a more flexible service. We have also taken the opportunity to let the lawyers loose on the Master Service Agreement (MSA) to reflect these changes and tidy it up.
In short, we’re offering contracts, 100% SLA on Numbering for Start-Up accounts alongside our 100% Channel Availability for VI and MI customers, more choice of service levels with better value, a rationalising of our Developer account, revised minimum spend for Start-Ups, a 0p minimum call charge and various minor tweaks.
A summary of the new categories and pricing is available and the MSA is available through the support centre. It is also linked from the Portal login page. We are giving 30 days’ notice of the changes to the MSA from today and price changes will be effective in invoices raised on September 1st (having been formalised in the next rate update).
Our flagship categories, Virtual Interconnect and Managed Interconnect, already offer great value for money but we are always looking for ways to improve these and strengthen our relationships with our customers. So we are introducing a revised charge for UK numbering where you pay a one off charge, currently set at 50p, for the duration of any contract. Existing numbers will be re-billed to the end of the contract term when that date is reached. We are also introducing a charge for http fax at £1 per configured number and reserving the right to charge for bursting over the number of committed channels. These accounts continue to receive the benefit of our unique 100% Channel Availability SLA.
The main course
The heart of our changes and new features are based around our Start-Up accounts. The first change to note is that, whilst the basic account remains month-to-month, we are offering enhancements with a 12 month, or longer, contract. This provides commitment from us to you to provide services at the same levels and headline pricing for that period.
We have also watched the industry move entry level monthly commitments to a much higher level with £500 being the norm. That’s quite a leap from our existing Start-Up account which is at £100 and so we are making a move towards that by increasing the monthly minimum to £250. To protect those who might see that as a significant change, we are offering the ability to lock in right now at £100 / month for 12 months before these changes take effect. You need to do this by 31st August as the billing on the 1st of September will reflect the minimum spend for the month preceding – August of course. In the event that, regrettably, some customers find this unpalatable, we will be pleased to help them source a recommended alternative provider.
An important note about our minimum spend – this includes other services you buy from us, not just telephony. So that includes colo, transit, hosting etc. with more services coming soon. We believe this revised minimum spend remains modest for the wholesale telephony market and unique in including other services.
For those Customers who prefer to remain uncommitted, albeit still subject to the MSA of course, you need do nothing and you will simply move to a £250 minimum monthly spend. However, you can also choose to contract at the £250 minimum for 12 months (or more) giving headline price protection and the benefit of our new 100% SLA on Numbering.
We’ve gone one stage further and are offering a 0p minimum call charge for those Customers willing to commit to £1,000 / month for 12 months.
For years we have supplied an http and email fax service for free. This has always been a cost we have absorbed although we recognise that the two versions on offer, http and email, provide great value. So for Start-Up and Developer accounts we will be charging £5 / month for http and £1 / month for fax to email per configured number.
03 numbers in the UK are charged at geographic rates at retail and so we do not consider them to be NGNs. We have done so historically, but are out of sync with the market, and we will now consider them Geographic Numbers for the purpose of rental billing.
We have also taken a close look at our Developer account. This account serves a number of purposes and is being rationalised to better fit our vision of a developer. This includes: a 1p minimum call charge (was 1 minute), a maximum of 5 numbers at an increased charge of £2 / month, and 5 channels. This comes with a monthly minimum spend of £50, to replace the rental charge. We have also removed the ability to downgrade to this account, emphasising our position that this is not an account to be used for production traffic. However, this is not meant to be penal and those migrating to a production account may be given a discretionary credit for the fees incurred in Development.
Finally, we are addressing a small but niggling issue. Occasionally a customer decides to leave us, hardly unheard of in business! However, as we do not permit the wholesale export of our numbers there may be only those left on the account receiving incoming calls. In this instance, a sensibly priced and serviced account seems reasonable. We call this a Dormant Account and details, regrettably(!), are available on request.
Summary of Changes to the MSA
By way of completeness and convenience, here is a list of the main changes to the MSA. They reflect:
- Introduction of the concept of Bursting and reserving our rights to charge for it
- What happens when the term of a service expires
- What a Customer must do in the event they wish to dispute an invoice
- The fact that we only sell to Communication Providers
- What happens if a customer becomes insolvent
- Treatment of credit balances on accounts that are not being used
- Our position on Artificial Inflation of Traffic claims
- Upgrades of services mid-contract
- Minor nit-picks identified by the wonderfully detail obsessed legal team
If you are a customer and want to join in the discussion about this, or anything else Simwood related, then head over to our Community Slack channel. Customers can apply for a login.