What is your experience with Totango?

ToTango Flatrate: Pros and Cons of the feasibility of the offer

In the meantime, ToTango's narrow-band flat rate offer, which is now also available for modem owners, is known to almost every surfer and every day onlinekosten.de receives e-mails from readers who often do not have a DSL connection and who are hoping that the offer will start . More precisely, quite a few cling to this literally incredibly cheap flat rate. Because many are still waiting for a flat rate that is suitable for the masses and affordable for everyone. But are all these hopes justified and can the offer actually be realized? Many of you will answer this question with a resounding "No!" answer - we want to try to explain the reasons for this in this article, whereby the offer should by no means be talked to death. At the end of the article, there is also room for new rumors about ToTango's tariffs.

Unfortunately, there are not many arguments to argue for the credibility of introducing a flat rate. Unlike the previous flat rate providers, ToTango is a GmbH and Co. KG, behind which a normal limited partnership is hidden. The GmbH is only a general partner, i.e. the fully liable. This makes a purely subjective impression, of course, as none of the flat rate providers who have never brought their flat rate onto the market have so far been able to demonstrate a similar legal form. But the entire website, including the press area and many other tariffs, makes the company appear credible. After all, the technology press agency talk @ bout also works for ToTango, which designs the website and does the media work. Unfortunately, we have no user reports on experiences with the other tariffs, so we cannot evaluate the access ourselves. Cons:
Despite the almost convincing website, there are, on the other hand, many counter-arguments that suggest that a narrow-band flat-rate offer cannot be realized. An important question is how the offer can be financed at all. Under the current German framework, it is definitely not possible to offer end customers a non-timed analog / ISDN access. Despite cross-financing through advertising, the offer is not sustainable. Advertising can't play that big a role in the finance pot as it doesn't bring in as much to make up for the bill difference. "What is the invoice difference?" you will ask yourself now.

The invoice difference means that the provider has to pay more for the IP platform, the carrier and the backbone than he gets from the customer for the flat rate. It is well known that the provider himself has no possibility of a flat-rate billing of the access. This means that - although he himself offers a flat rate - he still has to pay timed connection fees (T-InterConnect OnlineConnect or AfOD, offer for online services), since the so-called "wholesale flat rate" is currently not applicable. In addition to the minute charges, there are also costs for traffic and backbone to be expected.

Let us now assume that the end customer is online around the clock the whole month, but only pays EUR 27.99. The provider now has to pay for every single minute that this customer surfs. Now the provider exceeds its limit of EUR 27.99 per customer and has to pay EUR 60 for a month of uninterrupted internet use. This doesn't even include the cost of the traffic that the user caused! And it is precisely this difference that cannot be compensated for by advertising - especially not if you include the current situation on the advertising market.

Even if the offer ever starts, it will probably not be able to last in the long run, as one long-term calculation certainly not considered. At the moment it looks rather like a mixed calculation, for which the setup fee as financial storage will not be enough either.

Another point is the strict but vaguely formulated terms and conditions, according to which ToTango nearly everything can allow. The payment of the fees can only be done by bank debiting, which some users probably still stick to negatively in the memories. In contrast to direct debit, debiting an account by direct debit cannot be reversed. Other ambiguous terms and conditions can also be read in our interview with ToTango on March 12, 2002.

Regardless of various rumors, it is still not officially known via which IP platform or which carrier the access is to be realized, because this is almost a secret.

We deliberately leave out the aspect of "power users" and "permanent vacuum cleaners" in this article, as they should not necessarily be held responsible for the failure of flat rates. After all, the offer is called a flat rate and not a volume rate, so every customer has the right to use it as such. Only one must expect sanctions in the case of "excessive use". Disagreements
After the large number of registrations, 38.13% of the required number of interested parties have registered since the start of the flat rate tariff on March 11, 2002 and until this article was published. Unfortunately, the number of interested parties still needed is not shown here either, although it is probably in the range of 25,000. "Apparently Germany doesn't need a narrowband flat rate, nobody registers!" Said the confident and hopeful group. The other group, which does not believe that the flat rate can be financed, tries to explain its point of view: "Haven't you learned anything from the past?" The latter group primarily also believes in a bait offer or assumes that they are address collectors. Which of the groups is right remains to be seen.

Advertising window
So far it is unclear whether the advertising window only changes the advertising when surfing is active and ToTango earns money as a result, or whether money is also earned with a connection that is only busy with downloads.

A few weeks ago, ToTango said in good spirits that the Internet flat rate would be put into operation in the next few days due to the large number of visitors. But now it is said that the start will take place shortly after Easter. Perhaps one assumes that after the actual activation of the flat rate there will be another storm of registrations.

At the moment there are unconfirmed rumors that ToTango will probably use Telekom's backbone. Apart from that, there will soon be hourly tariffs, whereby ToTango has already confirmed that "something is in preparation in this regard".

What do you think of the ToTango flat rate? Have you made experiences with the other ToTango tariffs? You are welcome to discuss this offer in our discussion forum.

(Tobias Capangil)