What time are you most likely to pick up your home phone and make calls? We’ve heard from a few of you recently who’ve been caught out by a change in off-peak call times.
In April 2010 BT shifted its off-peak timing. It had been 6pm to 6am – now it’s 7pm to 7am.
So if you had an evenings and weekend calls plan, you’d have to wait an hour later to make inclusive calls. It didn’t take long for other providers like Sky and TalkTalk to jump on the bandwagon and change their own hours.
Now call me cynical but I suspect that while rather a lot of customers would have made calls between 6pm and 7pm, the hour gained in the morning between 6am and 7am is not really a time most of us settle down for a nice chat.
Might this just be a sneaky way to get people to pay more or upgrade to a more expensive anytime calls package?
Anyway, this got us thinking about what peak and off-peak times actually mean these days. Whether it’s your broadband service or your mobile phone tariff they all seem to have a different idea.
Massive variety of off-peak times
Peak times for broadband tend to be in the evening. TalkTalk says typical peak times are between 6pm and 10pm on weekdays, whereas Virgin Media classes peak times as 4pm to 9pm and 10am to 3pm on its cable services. Some providers operate traffic management at these popular times and limit speeds for heavy users to avoid networks being overloaded.
In contrast, mobile phone networks don’t seem to abide by any off-peak on peak rules any more. There’s still the occasional plan that offers free evening and weekend calls (such as Orange’s Canary PAYG) but for the most part you can use inclusive minutes and data whenever you want.
I remember a time when inclusive mobile calls nearly always applied only to customers on the same network or landlines but happily this is no longer the case. What freedom!
So what’s your definition of off-peak? Does it vary according to whether you’re on the landline, mobile or computer – as tariffs suggest – or should there be a universal off-peak time for all?