15 Aug 2013

Still a rip off–Ignorance is bliss


If you want to know how Brits are being ripped off 10,000 fold on the deal at left read on. It really is quite serious, but thousands or perhaps millions of Brits would have had a laugh at this advertisement by Three.co.uk.

You know, the Brits like to have a laugh, and dressing up a dog in some funny looking gear gets um pointing and giggling. And when the Brits giggle they go out and spend more easily. The idea is to suspend logic, because that could be an inhibiting force upon sales.  I think you’ll agree with me that it’s rather difficult to be ‘logical’ whilst giggling. So – if you want to win sales get them to commit whilst they’re giggling. The joke is on them actually – and they don’t even care!

Okay so what’s this one about? Some time ago I wrote on The great text-message rip-off. Here’s the news: IT’S STILL A RIP OFF!

The math – yes you don’t like math and they know it – but it’s rather quite simple.

1MB of data is roughly equivalent to 5000 text messages (for ease of calculation, but it’s actually 7490 messages). So theoretically you could expect to pay 1p for 5000 text messages. But hang on, they’d bill you 2p per text message. Which means they're bleeding you at 10,000 times the cost of the data. Assuming that you’re a human reading this – and not from the planet Zog, where I originate – you’d be doing a double-take and thinking, “Naaahhh… I don’t think he’s got that right”. Slow-thinking – System 2 – required. Here we go:

  1. 1p is the cost of 1MB (1,000,000 bytes of data).
  2. 1MB of data = 5000 texts.
  3. 1p = 5000 texts (you’d therefore expect).
  4. But you’ll actually be billed 2p per text.
  5. Now each 1p should give you 5000 texts and therefore 2p should give you 10,000 texts.
  6. This means that you’re being ripped-off 10,000-fold!

If you followed that ask yourself why you have trouble believing that people could actually endure being ripped off 10,000 fold. Look, a cup of coffee in the UK at the likes of Costa is around £2.00 (focus –it‘s not really that important whether it’s Starbucks, Costa, Prezzo or whatever). Now what if you ordered a coffee and then found out that they wanted to charge you £20,000 for that cup. What would your response be like. You might have fantasies of causing them to wear their coffee at such a ridiculous price.

Here’s the thing - 1p – oh that seems so small!! However, the actual factor of the rip-off is same as in the coffee example above. Rip-off-Britain is ‘good’ – cuz it knows how people’s minds work (or not). It knows that 1p means little to them. How many text messages are sent in the UK year?. It was 150 Billion in 2011 – and they’re texting more than talking. If all cellphone companies charged 2p/text and most charge more on unbundled tariffs, that’s £3 Billion just from texts alone.

How much data does 150 Billion texts consume? 150 Billion x 200 bytes (for easy calculation) = 3 x 1013 bytes = 30 Million MB = 30,000 GB = 30 Terabytes of data. Most hard drives these days come with 1 terabyte of data. So for argument sake for the total data storage capacity of just about 50 UK home computers they rake in £3 Billion? I’m green!!

But it doesn’t end there. A minute of voice conversation over Skype normally consumes 1MB of data. So that's 1p per minute. But they're charging you 3p per minute for voice not transmitted by data i.e. 3 times the price of their advertised price per MB of data.

If you got this far, you’re probably thinking, “Great story, but what the devil can I do about it? After all I still need to use my phone! And reading all this is interesting but is of no practical use.” Well on that basis, you must stop watching the news – take no interest in anything that you can’t get some ‘practical value’ out of. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ must be your motto. Rip-off-Britain lives for you. It needs you. Now bugger off.