Quad-play will only end in tears... and Gary Barlow's first erotic novel

Got a bad feeling about this

Everyone's got a mad friend who claims to be so cool and leftfield he hasn't got a home landline connection, but if it's true, it's probably for technical reasons to do with credit histories or living in a dumpster that BT refuses to hook up.

You need a home phone line, even now, even in the age of 3G and 4G and Wi-Fi, because it's an infinitely more reliable way of getting all your home things online and it's better than a mobile for talking to old relatives for hours at a time.

And you need a mobile, because not having one makes you look weird in this day and age, like you're so unimportant and worthless that no one would ever need to get hold of you in a hurry.

A TV is compulsory too, else no one will want to visit you, and the internet, well, that's more important to us than having a mains water supply in 2015. I'd rather wash myself at a standpipe at the end of the road than go without home internet for an hour.

All of these things, in fact, are so important to us that it's madness to suggest dealing with anything other than a specialist for each.

Do you trust one company to do everything right? Because that's what BT is proposing.

Would you trust Vodafone to manage your home broadband? What does Sky know about mobile phone contracts? Nothing. It'll be blagging it.

What if the entertainment industry went quad-play and you were expected to read erotic novels written by Gary Barlow and the cast of Coronation Street held all of the top ten spots on the singles chart? It would all be wrong, that's what.

It's also madness to think that any of the companies lining up quad-play deals plan to do us any favours in terms of price. Sky isn't going to devalue its standalone TV products by offering discounts to people, just because they're also getting a SIM in the post via whoever's network they're reselling.

Vodafone's not going to suddenly start offering the same sort of unlimited data SIMs you can get with Shonky Mobile for £3.99 a month, as that'd eat into the ludicrous profits it makes from people happy to pay £37.99 for a "free" iPhone.

Quad-play means you have all the inconvenience of dealing with the enormous call centres of aggregated corporate giants, with none of the fun of shopping around to save yourself 99p a month on a new PAYG SIM or spending a weekend productively shopping around for a Freesat box so you can stick it to Rupert Murdoch on Twitter.

Contract terminated

Another big thing we'd lose from going quad-play is the ability to leave a particular provider in a huff.

At the moment, if our broadband connections are offering less than the advertised headline speed for more than 12 Speedtest checks in a row, we can flounce off, throw some cathartic abuse at the network's social media operative, and switch providers -- perhaps even saving £2 a month in the process.

Lock yourself into a QP deal and that won't be possible, not unless you want the substantial life upheaval that would come from swapping everything modern and important over at once and risking all of the entertainment pillars coming crashing down.

Quad-play is surely going to end up being like spinning plates for the companies involved. They'll be jacks of all trades, with the poor call centre operatives suddenly finding their troubleshooting scripts have quadrupled in length and complexity. Imagine phoning BT's call centre, only this time it's for making your TV and mobile phone work.

Then imagine the living hell of a day when your mobile, broadband and TV all switch off, leaving you stranded, like Morrissey on a Sunday in that seaside town, with nothing to do.

Like members of the royal family taking separate planes, it's best not to put too many eggs in one basket.

Tags