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UPC - New bundles and price plans

UPC - New bundles and price plans

Yesterday morning, Ireland’s largest cable operator and purveyor of Ireland’s fastest domestic broadband plans launched a bunch of new bundle deals to entice Ireland’s cash-strapped consumers to sign up. The new bundle deals sport names such as “The Essential Bundle” and “The Complete Bundle”, with prices from €50 per month to cover all three services of TV, Broadband and Home Phone. 

We have spoken here before about bundle deals offering the best value to customers - bundles which incorporate broadband and home phone and are delivered over phone lines have a battleground of about €40 per month - excellent value when you consider these plans all include world beating line rental of €25.36 per month.

Not all broadband packages require an old POTS telephone lines to operate though - Cable, Wireless and Satellite broadband & home phone bundles are not encumbered by line rental charges, a relic of the old P&T era. Luckily for companies that don't use the old telephone network, they can compete without needing to pay a wholesale charge to eircom or other network operators just to have a connection to a home - and they all make great use of this to deliver more services per euro than is typical for a phone line service. 

In the case of UPC, they operate a fibre network and claim that each of their customer homes is within 300m of that fibre - the last 300m being served by high grade copper cable; unlike the twisted pair of DSL providers this cable can theoretically offer far higher speeds than is currently offered - bonkers.ie were shown a demonstration where consumer grade cable achieved speeds of 1.55Gb/s - giga bits per second - not the mega we’re normally used to. i.e. very very fast.

So what about the new UPC packages then? What can they offer with their network investment of €500m in Ireland to their existing and new customers? Well the answer is their most basic triple play package - TV, Broadband and Phone - offers speeds of at least 50Mb/s - that’s more than six times the speed that can typically be achieved by DSL networks. The difference is that while DSL speeds can be “Up to” a speed, the actual speed depends on how far your twisted pair needs to go to get to your local exchange, and the quality of that twisted pair - some has been in the ground for decades. The other new item for UPC in the upgraded plans is the that Uncapped plans are now also Unlimited, where previously they had a “fair usage” cap of 500GB per month. The likelihood is that UPC have decided to lift this “fair usage” restriction in a direct response to Sky which introduced their broadband plans a couple of weeks back, the €40 plan from Sky offers Uncapped/Unlimited to their customers.

So what if you don’t need much download allowance? The pricing gurus over at UPC thought of that too. There's a basic bundle called "The Essential Bundle - Limited" which restricts monthly downloads to 10GB. If you're not a Netflix or YouTube junky, you might get away with this 10GB monthly allowance, but be warned that over the first 12 months, the standard version of "The Essential Bundle" is actually cheaper - and doesn't limit downloads in any way.

On the phone side of the equation, the basic plan offers 100 minutes at any time to any destination - which UPC calls “Anywhere 100”. You can use all 100 minutes to call mobiles or an international destination if you have loved ones overseas. While this is an excellent value call package, our top tip for UPC customers is to request their “Freetime World” plan in place of the “Anywhere 100” plan - the reason is that the former offers unlimited off-peak calls to local and national destinations and 400 minutes to international destinations (again at off-peak times). For a fiver more, you can upgrade the off-peak restriction to anytime - making it great value - the only gotcha is that calls to mobiles are not included.

The TV side of the bundle is pretty impressive too - in terms of an entry-level bundle, you might think that you wouldn’t get access to the highest quality content - but you do. As a subscriber to UPC’s “The Essential Bundle”, you get over 90 TV channels because the entry level bundle incorporates their “Select Extra” channel pack - see below for the details of those channels which includes a strong mix of the Irish & UK staples, kids content, some movies and sports thrown in for good measure (Formula 1 fans can keep up with the action on Setanta Ireland, included in the pack).

 

All the new bundles on offer by UPC are in the table below - the prices range from €66 per month (discounted down to €50 for the first six months) up to a fully loaded €134.71 (discounted down to €118.71 for the first six months) for 100Mb broadband, home phone, Sky Movies HD, Sky Sports HD and a raft of other HD channels.

 

 

UPC Bundles - February 2013

Bundle Name

TV

Broadband*

Allowance

Phone

Monthly

Year 1**

Fibre Power 50Mb

n/a

50Mb / 5Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€42

€447

Fibre Power 100Mb

n/a

100Mb / 10Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€47

€537

Fibre Power 150Mb

n/a

150Mb / 10Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€52

€567

The Essential Bundle

90+ channels

50Mb / 5Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€66

€786

The Complete Bundle

110+ channels

50Mb / 5Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€71

€846

The Complete Bundle 100

110+ channels

100Mb / 10Mb

Unlimited/Uncapped

100 minutes

€76

€906

* Speeds shown download / upload

** Year 1 cost includes discounts and activation fees

 

If you’re a fan of recording your TV to watch later, you’ll be very happy to know that all UPC bundles also include unlimited access to their OnDemand services where you can watch box sets of popular TV any time you like - or catch up on your favourite soaps with the integrated players from RTE and 3, and if you want to rent movies you can do that too.

So all in all, with UPC and Sky duelling it out for our euros with their TV, Broadband and Phone bundles, we’ve never had better & cheaper access to more content, high speed internet or call packages than we have now. If you’re in an area serviced by UPC, their bundle plans are definitely worth a look.


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