It has always been a goal of Wanadoo to be at the top of the UK's broadband industry. Wanadoo was one of the first ISPs to provide unlimited dialup, and it was also the first ISP to provide 2Meg broadband at under £15 a month. This summer is going to be very busy at Wanadoo because they are running a trail method to provide broadband without having to access a BT phone line. This is being done in a technique called Local Loop Unbundling. Wanadoo was introduced in the UK in 2001, when a French company took over the already popular Freeserve service.
Freeserve was created in 1998 by The Dixon's Group, in the early days of the 56kbps pay per minute dialup. They were the cheapest ISP around, even back then. Wanadoo's large investment in LLU should prove successful. If it does, BT could lose a major portion of their customers. LLU is going to be a great alternative choice to BT's standard ADSL, and it is going to be provided at a much lower price. Costs to implement LLU, which had previously been high, have dropped significantly to a level where many ISPs are seeing it as a real alternative.
Some of the smaller ISPs were already using LLU, but Wanadoo will be the first to bring it into mass production. The advantages of LLU would let users have cheaper and faster internet, which would allow users better services with live video on demand and internet telephony. For some time now, Wanadoo has been a constant competitor to BT. Wanadoo has worked hard in upgrading their existing network. They recently doubled their standard 1mbps package to 2mbps. BT mirrored the change to avoid losing subscribers.
Both Wanadoo and BT have implemented a monthly cap on the amount of content their customers can download. BT limits their user to 1 GB, but Wanadoo's just happens to be double that at 2 GB a month. Wanadoo is proud to have 0.7 million broadband users. They still lag behind BT, at 1.
7 million customers. Wanadoo has announced their goal to match BT's current 1.7 million by the year 2008. Wanadoo is currently offering services of 2mbps broadband with a maximum limit of 30 GB. This is their premium package, but they also offer Pay As You Go and unlimited 56k dialup.
The fastest broadband offered by their competitors in the UK is 8mbps unlimited broadband, but this figure seems to change often. The advantages of going with a Wanadoo Broadband connection is that you don't pay any connection costs, and you receive a free modem along with a bonus of 6 months of free local calls on your current phone line. Wanadoo doesn't have such a good reputation with their subscribers.
Since ISPs are universally known to have poor customer service, Wanadoo is no different. They also enforce their monthly caps with no leeway by cutting off customers and placing a limit on users who have inadvertently gone over their limit. Wanadoo services are also not strangers to a bit of downtime once in a while. The future of Wanadoo is hanging in the balance, as just last month the French company that owns Wanadoo and also owns the Orange mobile phone service made public the fact that it is going to leave behind the Wanadoo name in favor of the moniker, Orange.
Wanadoo's current poor reputation could explain the desire to re-brand Wanadoo. By using an internationally known and trusted name, it opens up possibilities of cross-market opportunities. Starting early next year all Wanadoo customers will be having a new email addresses. It is interesting to note that the French company Telecom, spent £20 million to rename Freeserve several years ago, saying that Wanadoo gave the impression of "power, passion and dynamism". The cost of re-branding this time will be around £135 million for the first year, although the French company intends to break even by the close of 2007.
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