Billing. It's a funny thing

This is a temporary stream of consciousness…

If telecommunications is considered a utility in the sense that gas, electricity and water are, then the billing of this stuff is a strange affair.

I’m quite used to gas and electricity being metered; I pay for what I use and nothing more. I like this

But then, I was also quite used to paying a fixed monthly price for water (and sewerage) regardless of how much or how little I used. I liked this
Until, that is, water also became metered. I didn’t like this.

The above metered albeit with a standing charge.

But I baulk at the cost of mobile telephony. I pay a fair chunk of money each month to have more data than I need. (like the fixed price water I used to have that I liked)

But I have data anxiety so I pay for far more than I use.

In terms of paying for telephony, I was attracted to the original Zevvle proposition of just paying for what I used, the prospect of multi-SIM on one account and transparency.

Transparency is important. I can not find how much data I’ve used, historically, on EE. I can only see how much I’ve used in the current month …as long as I look at their (shoddy, slow) app.

On speaking with them, EE tells me that I have averaged 9.3GB per month over the last three months. Even EE can not tell me how much data I have been using historically. And what I have been using amounts to only a third of what I’ve been paying for.

So, what am I saying?

I don’t really know.

I suppose, depending on the utility, I have a preferred billing format. I’m frustrated if paying more than I am using but I also pay for way more than I use so as to avoid not having enough to use in case I need to use more. But I often don’t so I’m over paying by three times. …but I’ve worked out that I’ll need to pay £46.50 per month to Zevvle on my current usage of data and £150 per month if I was to match my current full data allowance. This isn’t viable really.

Despite what Nick is trying to do to shake things up, and I admire him for that, and despite loving the approach, I’m left wondering whether I’m just not the right sort of customer?


Do you think that has anything to do with data not being the end result, as opposed to something like water? E.g., I don’t see or even want “data,” but I’d like to read that article, watch that video, etc… granted, the faster it loads and higher quality, the better.

Love it.

If you ever want to leave, we’ll always be grateful you gave us a chance. Although… based on the bundle feedback, I think we’ve got something cooking that you’ll like. :smiley:


Incoming bundles look banging. All you need left is roaming in at least the US and some commonwealth and I’m in for the long-haul, Nick.

*presuming you give me a note written in blood saying Zevvle will eventually aim for global roaming at local prices + local numbers wherever I want :wink:


This is what my brain seems to prefer. I would pay (and am now paying) a little more than I used to for the mental comfort of knowing that:

  • There’s a direct link between how much I use my phone and how much I’m paying
  • Nothing is “going to waste”
  • I’m not somehow being fucked by some manipulative pricing structure

It’s a nice thing for sure but if I did that I’d be paying 5/GB for 5-10GB a month. Maybe more if i don’t have consistent WiFi access

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Absolutely. I only get away with it since I don’t use much data each month.

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Some bills are flat rate no mater how much you use e.g.

  • TV Licence (and other video streaming services)
  • Council tax
  • Broadband (fixed line) - mostly now, there’s a few metered tariffs still around.
  • Water (Scotland)

Others are based on actual usage (often a fixed standing charge plus usage)

  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Water (where you have a water meter)

Telecoms has the hybrid approach which is slowly moving to a more flat rate method.


You forgot to add TV licence to the top list. :wink:

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Good point, I’ve added it. I had thought about it and forgot to to include it.

Which model is better:

  • Flat rate
  • Actual usage
  • Ability to pay (rather had to define, but why should someone very low paid miss out, or should the minimum wage be higher to avoid the issue?)
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Actual usage would be nice but as a result you’re going to pay more because they can’t use lack of other customers usage to subsidize yours.

As such I’d suggest flat rate.

Definitely not ability to pay. Parents have always told me if you can’t afford something you don’t have it, which is in my mind very true. Why should a company be forced to take a hit because you don’t have enough money? It isn’t their problem.

I’d say it depends.

For tangible resources like electricity, actual usage is the only one that makes sense (with discounts for certain time periods if certain times make it better for the infrastructure - think power grids to try and distribute the load more evenly throughout the day by shifting “background” loads like water heaters away from peak periods).

For arbitrary fees like the TV License or taxes I’d say a flat fee per person makes sense (I disagree with the whole concept of the TV License but that’s besides the point).

For using a shared resource like radio spectrum a flat monthly fee for a slice of that spectrum makes sense regardless of actual usage (as the spectrum should be kept somewhat free - minus some reasonable oversubscription - so even those who don’t actively use it still cost the carrier money).

Notice how I didn’t mention the current pricing model of paying for “data” because it doesn’t fall into any of the above categories - it deserves its own one: scams.

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Flat rate. I only say that because prepaid stuff meaning gas and electricity keys charge a huge mark up when compared to post paid bills with the same providers.

In saying that I pay £4.00 a month for my mobile phone contract so just like above but the other way round somebody is subsidizing my usage by paying a lot more for the very same tariff.*

*Do I really care about that? Sure I cry myself to sleep most nights thinking about it…:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I digress, in summary I would say a flat rate is almost universally better for almost everybody but very low users of any service. As for one thing it comes with peace of mind as you know how much you would be paying per month.

In saying that there could be three flat rate tariffs one for low users, one for medium users and one for high users.

Electricity is not tangible (In law, at least).