Selling Someone Else’s Stuff

Written by on July 6, 2013 in BillingViews, Opinion with 1 Comment

I moved house last week. Almost inevitably my broadband arrived after I did and I was left without access to the world for a few days. As you would expect, my computer detected several WiFi networks and, as you would expect most of them were password protected. Then a couple of networks appeared that said they were public. Excellent, I thought, I’ll just use my hotspot account to access them.

Naturally, I had forgotten my password because I had changed it a few months previously and could not remember which of the new ones I had changed it to. So I rang customer service and quickly, amazingly got through to a real person.

Having chided me for not remembering my password and told me that ‘Password1’ is perhaps not the securest of passwords, and, sir, with all due respect you actually aren’t going to go in afterwards and change it and wouldn’t the best idea to be to think of safe one now. Quite right. Done and done.

By the way, I said, it is amazing that you have public hot spots in residential areas. If I can get onto one of these I may just cancel my broadband. Actually, sir, said my new friend, they are not public, they are your neighbours’ personal WiFi networks. Your public hotspot account can allow you to use them when there is bandwidth available, if they are out for instance. It is great that you have an account, otherwise we would charge you by the hour or day to use them.

Oddly, I have noticed that even if I am pre-logged in to a WiFi network I am generally offered the ‘pay for’ service rather than the free one that I have previously selected.

But that is not the point.

The point is that I am paying a service provider to use someone else’s property.

I am sure that somewhere on page 304 of the contract I signed without reading it I agreed to allow the provider to sell someone else’s stuff.

But.

Is it me, or is that just wrong?

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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. roberto says:

    Hmm. I could see this as attractive in a few scenarios.

    1. I opt in, for it, and I get perks (e.g. a discount, free add-on or a higher speed connection) for my money.
    2. I opt in, and in exchange for a predetermined amount of my bandwidth (say up to one third of the currently unused capacity), I can enjoy the same benefit – at no charge- while I am flitting about.

    The keys here are that I am rewarded for my contribution, and I have agreed to it. Anything else is probably taking advantage of me. If I stumbled upon this as you did, my level of trust in my SP would definitely drop.

    trusted relationships are transparent relationships.

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