UPC – formerly known as Cablecom – has launched new offers which bundle Internet, cable television and fixed telephone services. As of February 13, 2018, UPC is offering its “Happy Home 50”, “Happy Home 200” and “Happy Home 500” to Swiss consumers.
UPC promises the “best Internet experience”
UPC explained to moneyland.ch that with its new offers, it is taking a clear step towards its new mission: to provide the best Internet experience available. It aims to reach this goal by offering these services:
- Firstly, a modem with a built-in router which is branded as the Connect Box.
- Secondly, a Connect App offered to UPC customers by which they can examine and optimize the UPC-WLAN connection.
- Thirdly, Happy Home 200 and Happy Home 500 customers can receive WLAN powerline adapters which optimize their WLAN connectivity if necessary.
UPC raises its price tags
The new Happy Home offers replace UPC’s Connect & Play offers which are no longer available to new customers. The differences between the new offers and the previous offers are minimal, with the most outstanding difference being the 10-franc increase in the monthly fee.
Changes do not affect existing Connect & Play customers. Connect & Play bundles with cable TV, Internet and fixed-telephone lines are still available to existing UPC customers.
The main difference between the three new offers is the data connection speed. The basic Happy Home 50 offer provides 50 Mbps download speed and 5 Mbps upload speed. It costs 99 Swiss francs per month. Happy Home 200 provides 200 Mbps download speed and 20 Mbps upload speed. It costs 119 francs per month. Happy Home 500 delivers download capacity of up to 500 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 50 Mbps. It costs 139 francs per month.
Time-shift cable TV and unlimited phone calls
Customers of all three of the Happy Home offers receive the Horizon decoder which has been included in previous UPC offers. The offers include 145 cable TV channels, 90 of which are broadcasted in high definition. The decoder includes a replay function and a recorder with a capacity of 100 hours of high definition video.
All three Happy Home offers include a fixed telephone line. Unlimited calls to Swiss fixed-line and mobile phones are included in the monthly fee. As with previous offers, customers can choose to exclude phone calls in exchange for a discount of 10 francs off the monthly fee or to pay an additional 10 francs per month to enable unlimited phone calls to fixed phones in most European countries.
Existing customers are not obligated to upgrade to the new offers. However, they can obtain the Connect Box, Connect App and powerline adaptors upon request without their monthly fees being affected. Many existing customers will benefit from upgrades to Internet connections over the coming year without having to upgrade to new offers.
Comparison with similar offers
A comparison of UPCs offers with those of its competitors – Sunrise and market leader Swisscom – shows that the new offers from UPC cost nearly as much as similar offers from Swisscom. The monthly fees of the UPC offers are just one franc lower than those of comparable Swisscom products. The monthly fees of both the Happy Home 50 and Happy Home 200 offers from UPC are 4 francs higher than those of their Sunrise counterparts. However, comparable offers may not have identical Internet speeds or digital TV services.
The differences between the bundles offered by Swisscom, UPC and Sunrise – Switzerland’s largest telecom service providers – are minimal. But comparing these with offers from smaller service providers can pay off. For example, the Mini Kombi bundle from M-Budget with the Speed Maxi and Voice Maxi options costs 69.80 francs per month. That is around 30 francs per month less than the 99 francs per month that you pay for the comparable UPC offer. Teleboy and green.ch also offer significantly cheaper bundles.
Verdict by moneyland.ch telecom expert Ralf Beyeler
UPC is raising its price. “That is a surprising move in a market in which customers expect prices to decrease consistently” says Ralf Beyeler.
Advantage: Consumers who sign up for a Happy Home offer have a 30-day period during which they can try out the service. If they are not satisfied, they can cancel the service within the first month free of charge.
The UPC offers have two disadvantages. Firstly, the data upload speeds are low. The concept of Internet connections with lower upload speeds than download speeds is somewhat dated. Swisscom, Sunrise and most other service providers provide Internet connections with identical upload and download speeds – at least when optic fiber connections are available.
Secondly, with its Horizon decoder, UPC continues to deliver one of the worst cable TV offers on the Swiss market. UPC’s competitors moved to cloud-based TV bundles a long time ago. One example of how this affects TV consumption is the lower recording time: while some Swisscom offers allow for up to 2400 hours of recording time, the UPC offers only allow for around 100 hours of high definition recording.