A bundle is a related but slightly separate concept. Essentially, a bundle is a collection of plans. Bundling is used to determine how plans are offered to users. The actual nuts and bolts such as the charging rates and billing schedules for each service are determined at the level of the plan, but the way in which plans may or may not be combined for a single user is determined at the level of the bundle.
Thus the ways in which you choose to market and structure your billable-services is determined at the level of the bundle.
The ways in which you choose to place your plans into different bundles will determine aspects of your charging structure such as –
- What combinations of services a single user is allowed to subscribe to, and what combinations aren’t allowed.
- Whether the plans in the bundle are available only to administrative users, or are available to all users
- Whether users can switch plans within the bundle, or move from (or to) plans in other bundles.
Be aware that if you sign a user up to a bundle, without also selecting at least one of the plans within that bundle, you haven’t really signed them up to anything at all – if you try this, and then go to that user’s list of products, you will see that it is still empty. In this sense, a bundle is really just a way of grouping plans – it is the plans which a user is subscribed to which are the concrete entities.
A user will often sign up to plans from one or more bundles. Bundles can, at your discretion, be made to be compulsory or optional.
For example, an ISP might have a compulsory ADSL bundle that all its users receive; you will not be able to become a registered user at all without subscribing to this bundle. However the ISP may also provide an optional web-hosting bundle for those users who require web-hosting.
By arranging your plans and bundles appropriately, you can set-up a myriad of different charging schemes.
Another typical example is as follows: one bundle (Bundle X) might contain 3 plans: Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. Plan A is compulsory, with all users who get Bundle X getting Plan A. Plan B and Plan C are optional, but the user can only choose one of them. This may be required for an ADSL bundle that contains a 512kB/128kB plan and a 1024kB/256kB plan.