Clarity in data pricing week continues, with a glass of wine

Written by on August 27, 2014 in BillingViews, Opinion with 2 Comments

It seems to be ‘data pricing’ week at BillingViews Boulevard. And why not? Almost every day another example of plans that make no sense comes to light. So why should we not complain, compare and if necessary satirise the incomprehensible notion that customers are going know what 2 Gigabytes actually buys them.

Take wine.

Contemplating the azure blue of the Mediterranean over the weekend, idly watching the condensation on a glass of the crisp and white, there was laughter. Imagine pricing wine, went the thought, like service providers price data. 

By volume.

No matter the occasion, no matter the quality, a bottle of wine is €10. Red, white, pink or something a little fizzy, €10. Problem solved, complexity in wine pricing is no longer an issue.

Of course we have all poked fun at data pricing by using the ‘coffee analogy’ but a memo will be sent out later today demanding that all BillingViews operatives think about wine at every opportunity.

If you are thinking that the wine analogy is the same as the coffee one, but a bit more fun, ‘bear with.’

Literally millions of growers produce wine around the world. Each one is slightly different, with generic similarities. It is sold through thousands of channels of many different types. It is priced based on cost, of course, but also on perceived value. Champagne means something special. White wine covers everything from the 10 litre plastic container of this year’s still fermenting sauvignon blanc – which is best taken in large plastic glasses in the company of Glaswegians – to wine that hints at damask table cloths and candlelight.

There are myriad ways that customers can buy wine. They can go into the local supermarket and buy a bottle of Rioja (other wines are available) together with the pre prepared lasagne. Connoisseurs can go to tastings and sniff, swirl and spit. Companies that need to entertain can have an account with a wine merchant and a relationship with an Account Manager that they trust. ‘Entrepreneurs’ can rent vans and cross borders to buy cut price wine and return over the border, axles dragging on the ground, the van stuffed full of wine ‘for personal use.’

And is any one of these customers confused. Do they, for a second, wonder what they are getting? If they need advice, there is someone right there to advise. But in a market with a million choices and multiple channels there is complete clarity in pricing. Because the pricing makes complete sense to those who buy wine, whoever they may be. 

Now, to write that memo.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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  1. Bob Machin says:

    Well hmm… yes, but who has bought a glass of wine in a pub or a bar and *not* been asked to choose between small, medium and large? Who has not calculated the value of a litre bottle of Scotch against a 70cl bottle to the nearest penny (or maybe that’s just me)? Volume *is* part of the calculation and people understand very well what they’re getting – with wine anyway.
    I think it’ll continue to be part of the calculation with data too. People don’t *only* want to be charged by volume, but nonetheless they want to see that they’re getting some kind of comparative value for their spend. So they’ll be interested in line speed (% alcohol?), they’ll be interested in extras like Spotify and Netflix (peanuts, olives?) but they’ll also be pleased to know that $30 buys them twice as big a data ‘bucket’ (glass) as $20…

  2. Alex Leslie says:

    You would almost think that you spent some not inconsiderable time in Scotland!! Actually some interesting points, as usual, thank you. I feel a presentation on wine coming on….

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