New Telephone and Internet Plans
A Talk by Stavros Patiniotis
owner of EscapeNet
Good morning everyone thanks for coming this morning I am happy to be talking about the telephone and Internet marketing for residents here. Today I’ll run through what’s happened with Lifestyle Utilities, a little bit about EscapeNet which if you don’t already know, why it’s changing and what we need to do to facilitate these changes. What you need to know about and what you need to do and finally the plans themselves. They are going to be a squashed on this little screen, I’ll wade you through the plans, you don’t have to take notes nor have to remember everything that I say, we are going to send everything out so you will have plenty of time to access, talk about and choose which plan and what you want to do.
You should have received a letter by now from Lifestyle hopefully, in regards to what’s happening, it would have come with your last quarterly bill. Basically Lifestyle Utilities is closing down so they will no longer be your phone provider and for power as well. We are working with Lifestyle to provide the phone service as many of you know we provide the Internet already so it is natural to be supplying both of them. Obviously supplying power and Internet is not a core business for Lifestyle so it’s no doubt restricted the services, price and features that were available to you through the phone service.
EscapeNet has been running for nearly 20 years now, we are a local South Australian company, independent, so we don’t have a board or anyone pulling strings that are not in the best interests of our customers. We pride ourselves on customer service, we speak English, so we don’t have a language barrier on to of the technical barrier, we try to make it as easy as possible for you. Even though we are a South Australian company we do service customers nationally, we are a full service Telecommunications company so we provide a full range of products primarily based on our core business which is Telecommunications, what that means is we supply phones, mobiles and Internet for our customers. We are local and accessible.
Moving on to why were are doing this, we will be introducing features that you don’t already have, for instance, voicemail, call waiting and caller id. These are free services that are going to built into the plan, you don’t need to take those services if you don’t need them. One of the facilities we will be introducing is for new residents to be able to retain their old number, most people have the same number for 20, 30 or 50 years and the decide to move into a Lifestyle village and all of a sudden they have change their telephone number. Depending on the number we will be able to allow you to keep the old number so all your family and friends will still be able to call you using the old number. With the new plans there is the ability for free inter village calls, also if you have friends or relatives that are EscapeNet customers with a phone service you will be able to make free calls to them so it does not matter where they are. When you receive the new information you will see international call rates that are much cheaper than what you now have so there will be massive saving on almost everything. This is our core business so we can deliver a more cost effective plan with more features than what you are getting now and that is on of the nice things about our business.
If you not already an Internet customer these new plans will allow for a very easy and small financial upgrade to be to provide Internet access to you, some of the points I have been through will apply to Internet as well, we have a bunch of features that other carriers don’t have.
To make all this happen we can’t just replace everything like your medical system and access to the gate which are very important, so we just have to work around that. We will be upgrading some of the system at our cost for example voicemail and caller id you don’t have to pay for it as it is a benefit of the plan. On top of those upgrades there will be some upgrades for the Internet to increase the speed, what we will be doing almost immediately is doubling the ADSL speed up to the maximum speed so residents will be able to get the full ADSL speed and in the future we will be offering speeds compatible with NBN so we will offer and upgrade to a speed of 100Mbits/s within the village and that will happen before the NBN will even get here.
These upgrades won’t happen overnight, there will be a little delay between us putting the upgrades in and you being able to choose the new plan. We can reveal the plans to you today so you will have plenty of time to choose plans and when we are ready we will let you know in plenty of time for you to change over. We believe the upgrades will take about 6 months in total. Importantly we will have upgrades to our monitoring system to be able to resolve faults remotely without needing to attend onsite, which will enable us to attend to problems within minutes rather than hours.
In regards to you nothing further is required as yet and even in the future, you can choose to nothing for one, at the end of the day you can pick up your phone, make phone calls turn on your computer use the Internet. It is a seamless change that is only going to affect your billing in a positive way for your future plan. The agreement with Lifestyle takes place on the 1st April so in this next period we will bill you for your phone on your current plan, we will be offering a discount on the current plan, only a couple of dollars but that is a discount we can pass on straight away. The bill that you have received will be your last bill from Lifestyle. Just be aware of that when your next bill comes. Normally we bill in advance so we will bill you either monthly or quarterly in advance for your line rental and your calls will be billed in arrears.
In terms of what you need to know you will get in your mail out, plans and some more information, for you to choose the plan you would like to go on. You can choose to do nothing with those plans, your old plans are still available to you, so you can stay with your old plan, no one will be worse off. If you choose to stay on your existing plan you are more than welcome to do that.
The payment arrangements will change as well, you can no longer pay at the community centre office for your EscapeNet plan. You will need to pay via one of our payment methods which are direct debit, credit cards or postal bill pay, also there are no credit card fees if you wish to pay by credit card. There are two types of payments we have, either automatic or manual. In automatic you provide us with your credit card details and we bill you automatically when your bill is created each month and you get a copy of your invoice by email or by post if you do not have Internet. The great thing about the automatic payment is you are paying monthly not quarterly. If you prefer manual billing and you choose monthly billing there is a surcharge. Now because we are billing in advance you will end up with a double bill, Your Lifestyle Bill for the last 3 months in arrears and The EscapeNet bill for the first 2 months in advance. We are making our first billing period only 2 months to minimise the expense. If you need time to pay that bill you just need to give us a call, we have no problems in extending the due date as we understand you are being hit with a double bill, as long as we know what is going on we are happy to accommodate you. If you are away at the time give us a call and we will extend the date
There are 6 new plans, 2 which are for phone only and 4 which have phone and Internet bundled together. The monthly price at the top is including GST. The Phone 1 price is $24 per month and has local calls at 28 cents each, STD calls 50 cents each, these calls are flat rate which means there is no time limit. This is the plan to choose if you do not use your phone very much but just need to retain a phone. The next plan again is phone only slightly dearer but has a cheaper call rate at 10 cents local and STD calls at 20 cents, again the is no time limit. As you can see when we jump from the phone only plan to the phone and Internet plan there is only a $14 extra fee to have Internet as well. So if currently you are paying $28 for your phone and $39.90 for your Internet and you are only a small user of Internet you can save $19.90 per month by choosing plan 3, on top of that you get all your local calls fro free. There is a quota on the Internet which will suit a small user. You could choose to go to a higher plan where all your calls are free and the Internet quota is much larger. What is changing now are smart TV’s and the introduction of Neflix, Stan and Presto which allows you to watch TV through the Internet. Our top plan is only $8 more per month over what you are now paying which will include all your calls for free and unlimited data. We are trying to get some historical data so we can help you choose a plan, I cannot guarantee we will have that in time but that will not prevent you from changing to another plan if necessary. If you choose a small plan and you find you are making more calls or many calls to mobile you can change to a higher plan but remember that an upgrade or downgrade can only be done on the rollover date, that is the date you started your plan.
Most billing is currently the 1st of the month we have not yet decided what we are doing with customers who are not billed on 1st of the month. We normally bill customers on the date they came online, so if you came online on the 21st of the month your billing or rollover day will be the 21st of the month. your date can be changed to suit yourself, we can accommodate that change and you bill will show line items to show that change.
That is all I have regarding the plans I am happy to answer questions relating too the new plans.
Note: Stavros also made it clear during one of the questions that if the Internet data quota is exceeded during the month the Internet is not suspended, however the speed is dramatically reduced to almost dialup speeds until your next rollover. If this were to happen often you should consider changing to a higher quota plan.
Questions & Answers
When can we get a copy of that plan?
Our mailout will occur In the next 2 -3 weeks with all the billing information and a lot more.
What about International calls?
The cost of International calls to popular countries will be included in that mailout other countries will be available via the web or a phone number that you can call ti find out what the rates are going to be. In any case they are all going to be cheaper than what you are paying now.
How do we stop call that we don’t know where they are from?
After a lot of discussion Stavros said to call EscapeNet, they will set up a trace and try to find the origin of the call. The new plans will have a lot more visibility of what is going on.
Will the line rental change? A bill of $100 has a line rental charge of $90. As far as they were aware they do not have a line on which to charge a rental. Will this change.?
Well it is changing with these new plans, you do have a line there is village infrastructure to bring that service to you and that is why you get that charge. You can see by the new plans where we are combining phone and Internet we are sharing the charge and not billing you twice for it. It is not unusual if you are a small user of the phone that your rental outweighs your call costs. These plans help minimise that and reduce costs.
I am an Escapenet customer with phone and Internet I don’t see the prices are my fees going to increase?
If you don’t like one of our plans we have you can remain as you are, but one of our new plans may be cheaper, a minimum phone and Internet is $48 per month.
Note: ( all old Internet plans below $39.90 are being discontinued, therefore with an old phone plan of $28 per month and an Internet plan of $39.90 per month if you do nothing you will be paying $67.90 per month. It makes sense then to go on the first combined phone/Internet plan for $48 per month, if you need more data select the plan at $58 per month, you would still be in front.)
There is a problem with the billing of unconnected calls being charged as a connected call, will you look into this?
In the short term we will be using the same billing data that Lifestyle has been using once the new plans are in place we will use the same billing system we use for all of our customers and that is accurate. We have never had a situation where we have problems like that. I can’t comment on what is going on now, I have not seen that data, but under the new system you won’t have that problem only active calls are charged. It may take you 10 secs to make the call and another 20 secs for the call to be answered but we only start the billing when the call is answered.
I have no telephone plan with Lifestyle I just use your Internet, what will my position be?
Without a phone plan your Internet will be $39.90 per month.
I travel a lot will I have access to my Internet plan while I am away.?
We will be still offering the Dongle service so you may borrow that Dongle from us as you are now.
Can we buy a Dongle of our own?
You can but it is a lot of messing around, as the sim would need to be changed. We are looking into having prepaid plane, it is not something we have at present.
Do you have a plan that would include a mobile phone?
To clarify, the mobile calls shown here are calls from your home phone to a mobile, as well we have 2 basic mobile plans and we are going to include the details in the package to be posted out to you. They are a $15 per month plan where you pay for all the calls you make at a reasonable rate, the other plan is for high users at $49 per month with all calls included and untimed and a small amount of data as well and uses the Telstra 3G network.
WiFI Hotspots work very well as both my wife and I can be on the Internet at the same time. Are you getting more?
We only have a limited number of the Wifi Hotspots and we are increasing the number of those devices, and as with the Dongle you must be on an Internet plan to hire them.
In regards to VOIP there is no point in changing your plans if that is what you want to do, there are a couple of features we do not have on the VOIP, voicemail and that sort of stuff. It is also easier for most people to have a plan which will give them phone in the kitchen and bedrooms like they have now.
Note: The old feature of being able to receive calls without paying for a phone plan will no longer be available.
What happens when the Internet goes down, who do we contact?
Part of our upgrades will have equipment installed which will give up the ability signal when there is a fault to restart the equipment remotely thereby fixing most problems.
Who is going to maintain the PABX equipment the phones and the cables within the village?
SA Electronics will be doing that, I have stressed the maintenance etc with Lifestyle and with getting things looked at quickly. I personally have not had a problem with SA Electronics in their dealing with our requests at all, obviously there are some things I don’t know about.
The download limits, currently we have unlimited, are they about to change?
Yes, the plans all show the new limits, unless you have Internet only, we have the ability to look at your usage and advise you as needed
We currently read the Advertiser on-line and there are numerous videos to watch does this affect my usage?
Absolutely, it all adds up. Internet data is on the way up with Television and so forth. Once you reach these limits you connection will be slowed down, you have the ability to upgrade your plan that won’t until your next rollover day. You can buy blocks of data to get you through until your rollover day.
My telephone number is not published in the Telephone Directory, will that change?
We will not publish your number and details unless you ask us to.
When the NBN comes in the short term to the gates of our village, will it affect your operation at all or will the NBN simply stop at the gates?
It won’t affect our operation as what we do will prevent them from installing it in the village.
I have Internet only with you at present and you will be increasing my price to $39.90 per month, will that be unlimited?
The Internet only plan will be unlimited.
Will our existing Internet plan be changed, I have a $20 per month plan with you, will that be changed?
You will with need to select one of the new plans or an Internet only plan at $39.90 per month.
We have a contract, you and I and I don’t see any reason to cease that arrangement?
There were some specials done to attract new customers we offered a promotional deals, that will change.
Some people have $15 some have $20 and $29 per month, will these change.?
Yes they will have to choose a plan or Internet only at $39.90 per month.
You will get every thing you need in our mail out in the next couple of weeks, you will also be able to speak with us. Please do wait for the mail out before calling our office, have a look at everything we include, if you need assistance with a plan, we are here to help you.
A number of people are on various Internet plans, all grandfather plans from the time the village started, that will all change, you will need to have a phone plan, a phone and Internet plan or an Internet only plan.