Managing expectations in a high-speed telecoms world

This year has been something of a milestone in my personal technology user roadmap. First, I gained a 4G plan and smartphone (or LTE for the purists among us), and more recently my apartment was wired up with fibre optic technology that I hope will prove be an improvement on my previous slightly temperamental ADSL service.

So far, so underwhelmed, but then I was expecting that because I have been working in this industry for far too long.

In fact, the benefits both 4G and fibre have brought to me have been incremental, but at the same time I am extremely glad of those benefits. For example, I now have enough inclusive data and a fast enough connection to be able to listen to my favourite UK radio station wherever and whenever I want.

At home, my Orange Internet TV service finally works, and watching TV programmes downloaded from iTunes is a lot less painful than before. Plus, so far the overall connectivity has been reliable with no need to restart the box (previously this was required at least once a day).

The whole customer experience during the installation process was largely fine, after the initial frustration caused by the cancellation of my first appointment and a letter from Orange that wanted my bank details yet again, despite the fact I am a long-standing customer. The technician was on time; he was extremely helpful; and also very quick. I did have to call Orange three days later when my VoIP service was still not working, but overall, not too bad.

Importantly, I'm also not paying any more than before thanks to the competitive nature of the French market that has brought in affordable fibre and LTE plans. On the whole, I'm pretty happy with my choices, but it did strike me that I had to manage my own expectations on what this new and exciting technology would bring me as a consumer.

Given the high level of marketing around 4G and fibre, there could be many more underwhelmed customers out there, which increasingly underlines the importance of ensuring that they can see the benefits of upgrading, beyond increases in speed. Many operators have gone down the path of content included in 4G plans, for example, but that's not really of interest to me. I don't want Spotify or Sky Sports, for example.

For me, more inclusive data options would be helpful, such as multi-SIM or data sharing. In other words, greater choice on inclusive value-added services could also help as operators seek to persuade users to adopt these higher speed services that don't perhaps have the "wow" factor that some users might have been expecting.--Anne

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