Fixed Simulator - How it works
 1.Objective of the fixed telephony module. 

2.Classification of fixed telephony costs. 

3.Step 1 : Entering your query. 

4.Entering calls to fixed numbers. 

5.Calls to mobile numbers

6.Calls abroad

7.Step 2 : Detailed information. 

8.Step 3 : Display of the results.

9.Detail of the tariff plans in the results.

 


 

1.   Objective of the fixed telephony module

This module allows you to compare the average monthly cost of the tariff plans available on the Belgian residential market for the use of fixed telephony 

-         via either a “quick search” using the default values of the tool;

-         or via a “personalised search” taking into account the information you enter for your monthly usage profile.

This indicative tool can help you to choose a specific tariff plan from the different offers currently available for sale on the market and present in the tariff simulator.

 

The scope of this module is limited to the comparison of fixed telephony offers. More particularly, the fixed telephony module does not currently include the VoIP offers ("Voice over Internet Protocol").

2.   Classification of fixed telephony costs

The different costs you might have to face when acquiring and using telecommunications service(s) can be classified in three types: one-time costs, fixed costs and variable costs.

One-time costs: 

When acquiring a fixed telephony service, you may have to face 3 types of one-time costs: connection fees, activation fees and installation fees. 

Ø  The connection fees are only due if:

-         you are moving into a new building,

-         you have never been connected before or you are no longer connected,

-         you would like to change the type of "distribution channel".

 

Because of the strong development of the Belgian housing stock on the one hand and the particular character of this kind of costs on the other hand - which are by definition strongly linked to the characteristics of your own home -, BIPT has decided not to take into account this type of charges in the results of the tariff simulator.  

If you are in one of these cases, BIPT strongly recommends you to get some information on the technical possibilities and the costs incurred from the operators of your choice in order to have the information perfectly adapted to your particular case.

Ø  The activation fees correspond to the fee passed on by your operator to activate your service. These charges are due for any telecommunications service including a fixed element but may be reduced or suspended thanks to a temporary special offer. The tariff simulator takes account of these types of charges and special offers.

 

Ø As regards the installation fees, two cases are possible: you would either like to make the installation by yourself or to entrust a technician with this task. The amount to be paid will depend on this choice, which is why the tariff simulator questions you about your installation preference. It should be noted that some plans only allow one installation type. A logical consequence to this is that, depending on the installation type you will have selected, these plans will be displayed or not in the results proposed by the tool. In the results display, plans will be filtered according to the following reasoning:

 

a.     The plans proposing both installation possibilities will always be displayed in the results, showing the option chosen by the user;

b.     The plans only proposing the installation by a technician will also always be displayed in the results. There is no reason to forbid the display of this plan type, particularly if this plan offers a good price;

c.      The plans only allowing the installation by yourself will only be displayed if the user has chosen "installation by myself". Indeed, if a user has chosen the installation by a technician, he will not be satisfied with a product requiring the installation by himself.    

 

By default, the tool assumes that the answer to this question is "by myself": so, if the user does not change this parameter, he will be able to see all the tariff plans regardless of the installation fees issue.

Fixed costs:

These costs are monthly recurring costs. For example, the value of your monthly subscription fees and of any possible tariff options that were activated (for example, to cover calls to mobile numbers or to abroad)

Variable costs:

Variable costs are the costs incurred when your consumption is higher than the fixed amount included in the service(s) purchased. For instance, in telephony, the amount included in your monthly subscription fees corresponds to the fixed costs and the extra calls correspond to the variable costs.

 

Except for the connection fees, the tariff simulator takes account of these different costs when calculating the average monthly cost. To ease the financial impact of these charges over a relevant period of time BIPT took as hypothesis a three-year reference period, in accordance with the approach followed by the OECD for the study of the tariff baskets in the telecommunications sector. In practice, it means that we consider it as an average period during which the consumer intends to use the service(s) in question before possibly considering to change the tariff plan or the provider.The different costs you might have to face when acquiring and using telecommunications service(s) can be classified in three types: one-time costs, fixed costs and variable costs.

One-time costs: 

When acquiring a fixed telephony service, you may have to face 3 types of one-time costs: connection fees, activation fees and installation fees. 

Ø  The connection fees are only due if:

-         you are moving into a new building,

-         you have never been connected before or you are no longer connected,

-         you would like to change the type of "distribution channel".

 

Because of the strong development of the Belgian housing stock on the one hand and the particular character of this kind of costs on the other hand - which are by definition strongly linked to the characteristics of your own home -, BIPT has decided not to take into account this type of charges in the results of the tariff simulator.  

If you are in one of these cases, BIPT strongly recommends you to get some information on the technical possibilities and the costs incurred from the operators of your choice in order to have the information perfectly adapted to your particular case.

Ø  The activation fees correspond to the fee passed on by your operator to activate your service. These charges are due for any telecommunications service including a fixed element but may be reduced or suspended thanks to a temporary special offer. The tariff simulator takes account of these types of charges and special offers.

 

Ø As regards the installation fees, two cases are possible: you would either like to make the installation by yourself or to entrust a technician with this task. The amount to be paid will depend on this choice, which is why the tariff simulator questions you about your installation preference. It should be noted that some plans only allow one installation type. A logical consequence to this is that, depending on the installation type you will have selected, these plans will be displayed or not in the results proposed by the tool. In the results display, plans will be filtered according to the following reasoning:

 

a.     The plans proposing both installation possibilities will always be displayed in the results, showing the option chosen by the user;

b.     The plans only proposing the installation by a technician will also always be displayed in the results. There is no reason to forbid the display of this plan type, particularly if this plan offers a good price;

c.      The plans only allowing the installation by yourself will only be displayed if the user has chosen "installation by myself". Indeed, if a user has chosen the installation by a technician, he will not be satisfied with a product requiring the installation by himself.    

 

By default, the tool assumes that the answer to this question is "by myself": so, if the user does not change this parameter, he will be able to see all the tariff plans regardless of the installation fees issue.

Fixed costs:

These costs are monthly recurring costs. For example, the value of your monthly subscription fees and of any possible tariff options that were activated (for example, to cover calls to mobile numbers or to abroad)

Variable costs:

Variable costs are the costs incurred when your consumption is higher than the fixed amount included in the service(s) purchased. For instance, in telephony, the amount included in your monthly subscription fees corresponds to the fixed costs and the extra calls correspond to the variable costs.

Except for the connection fees, the tariff simulator takes account of these different costs when calculating the average monthly cost. To ease the financial impact of these charges over a relevant period of time BIPT took as hypothesis a three-year reference period, in accordance with the approach followed by the OECD for the study of the tariff baskets in the telecommunications sector. In practice, it means that we consider it as an average period during which the consumer intends to use the service(s) in question before possibly considering to change the tariff plan or the provider.

3.   Step 1 : Entering your query

If you choose the “personalised search”, the first step consists in entering the usage details of your fixed phone.


Figure 1 - Postal code of the connection place and installation type

To establish which operators are likely to offer fixed telephony services to the location where the connection for which you are asking tariff simulation is situated, you have to indicate the postcode of the place where this connection is situated. You also have to fill this field if you choose the “quick search”or if you want to enter detailed information (point 4).

Before entering your fixed telephony data, you are requested to choose the type of installation fees you would like to have. You either opt for an installation by yourself or you can entrust a technician with this task. By default, the tariff simulator assumes you opt for an installation by yourself (“Do-it-yourself” installation).

You also have to specify whether or not you want the effect of the currently valid special offers to appear in the results. We draw your attention to the fact that, by default, the plans presented by the tariff simulator are those corresponding to the consumption profile that you have entered taking into account the existing special offers. This approach results from the will of BIPT to allow the user to make the most of the special offers proposed by the operators on the Belgian residential telecommunications market. It is of course still possible to get results excluding special offers by modifying the answer to the question regarding the taking into account of the special offers.

However, we draw your attention to the fact that some of them are only accessible if certain conditions are met. If this is the case, the operator will already have filled in a text field specifying the eligibility conditions for the special offers that are subject to conditions. You will find them in the pink field under the plan's name.

 

The average monthly cost displayed takes account of all the special offers encoded in the simulator. Please check that you do meet the eligibility conditions for the special offers subject to conditions in order to get this service at the advertised price. 

Figure 2 –Slider and usage details for fixed telephony

In the following steps, you will detail your usage profile for the 3 following elements:

§  Calls from a fixed phone to a fixed number in Belgium (F2F calls);

§  Calls from a fixed phone to a mobile number in Belgium (F2M calls);

§  International calls.

 

Premium rate calls for "Premium" services are excluded from the tariff simulator.

 

The tool will then display a window with the default hypotheses on the monthly usage durations. These are used in the “quick search”.  The “personalised search” allows you to modify these parameters.

 

§  either directly by entering your own usage details (for example, from information provided by your current provider on your invoice or in your personal account)

§  or by using the slider at the top of the page.

 

These sliders allow you indeed to choose between three predefined usage profiles: low/medium/high. These profiles are linked to a given monthly call duration to fixed and mobile phones and, for the requests including calls to mobile phones, to a call percentage to the most frequently called mobile operator. 

 

These default values are based on data collected from operators active on the Belgian residential market and are displayed directly in the ”Call usage” section. 

 

4.   Entering calls to fixed numbers


Figure 3 – Usage details of F2F calls

In the “personalised search”, you can specify when you mostly use your fixed phone to make national calls if the default answer (“Anytime”) does not suit you. By clicking on the right arrow, you will have the choice between the following seven options:

By default, the number corresponding to the medium usage profile linked to the slider is displayed as the medium monthly call usage from your fixed phone to another fixed phone in Belgium. However, you can change this value to estimate your real usage.

After evaluating the number of minutes used monthly, you can specify the main operator to which you make calls and you will then be asked to specify the percentage of your calls to the customers of this operator.

 

 

5.   Calls to mobile numbers

 

Figure 4 – Usage details of F2M calls

In order to define your needs regarding national F2M calls, you are asked to estimate the number of call minutes to national mobile phones. Again, the default value corresponds to the medium profile defined by the slider.

 

If you know it, you can specify the name of the mobile operator you most frequently call. In this case, you are invited to specify the percentage of your calls to the customers of this operator.

6.   Calls abroad

  If you make international calls you must specify when you mostly use your fixed telephone for international calls. 


Figure 5 – Selection of international time slots

You select, among a list of countries in alphabetical order, the most frequently called countries (maximum three countries) with the estimated number of call minutes. For each proposed country, you can select the international calls to a fixed or a mobile phone, because the prices of international calls generally depend on the type of number in the destination country.


Figure 6 – List of countries for international calls


7.   Step 2 : Detailed information

This step is optional. It allows to define even more precisely your usage profile. This step can be activated by clicking on the button to enter more detailed information on your usage profile.  


Figure 7 – Detailed information, input data table

Then you can see the working assumptions selected by the tariff comparison tool for the distribution of the call minutes you entered at step 1. The tool spreads these minutes over the different periods. For example, if you entered an estimated number of call minutes to mobile phones at step 1 and specified when you mostly use your fixed telephone to make calls, you will get the distribution of minutes according to days (week and weekend) and hours, as well as between mobile operators. This last distribution estimation between mobile operators is set by default according to their market shares.

Therefore you can refine the usage estimations of your phone according to hours, days and operators.

You have the possibility to detail your profile for calls to fixed and mobile phones situated in Belgium as well as for international calls.

 

After entering these optional usage details you can click on the button “Search” to immediately have access to the results proposed by the tool.

8.   Step 3 : Display of the results

This step consists in obtaining and displaying the results. 


Figure 8– User-selected display settings

The tariff plans proposed are those likely to be provided in the geographical area indicated by the postcode displayed on the screen. By default, the list of proposed plans is limited to the 20 best offers, with a maximum of three offers per operator. However, users can change the number of results displayed by using the corresponding dropdown lists.

By default, the tariff plans are sorted by the software in increasing order of monthly cost on the basis of the usage details you entered. You can also change the sorting order of this result list by clicking on the relevant column heading (operator, tariff plan, average monthly cost, single invoice).

This list shows the following information:

 

9.Detail of the tariff plans in the results

When you place your slider on the relevant icon (= the red arrow on the right side of the average monthly cost for the plan), you get the details of the tariff plan concerned.  This average monthly cost also takes account of the possible promotional offers (e.g. free activation) and tariff options.


Figure 9– Presentation of the main characteristics of one plan

Clicking on this icon displays additional information:

 

 

If you want to look at the specific details of one of the tariff plans shown in the results, click on the name of that specific plan (step 3).

You can also change your usage profile by clicking on “Change/Edit your usage details”.

You can print the list of results by clicking directly on “Print results”.

 

If you want to have more information on the given plan of an operator, you can do it by clicking on its name in the list of results:  


Figure 10 – Accessing detailed information on a plan

This page includes:

 

§  contact details for the operator (name, address, telephone number, e-mail and website);

 

 

 

§  detailed information and features of the tariff plan;



§  detailed information on tariffs.