Instant Ump: HP Inc's subscription ink services hiking prices from next month

Customers in mid-tier band facing up to 50% higher fees... and they're delighted

Updated HP is hiking the UK price of Instant Ink monthly plans by more than 50 per cent in some cases, although the company website is still showing the cost of the soon-to-be out-of-date bands.

The subscription service was launched in the UK in 2014, and "eliminates ink anxiety" according to the US vendor, with a small cartridge in the box re-ordering ink before it runs out. HP also said it "slashes ink costs" in half when compared to the cost per page using most low-end colour inkjet toners.

There were 10 million plus subscribers [PDF] to the service globally as of October 2021, according to HP's Securities Analyst Meeting. The firm said revenues generated by Instant Ink in fiscal '21 were forecast to grow 30 per cent year-on-year to more than $500m. HP reported pre-tax profit from printing for the whole financial year of $3.635bn, up from $2.49bn a year earlier.

Instant Ink's contribution to that income might be more pronounced from next month when HP introduces some changes to pricing, confirmed in an email sent to customers and shared with The Reg.

From 26 February, the "monthly plan fee" rises for the "Occasional" tier, those that print 50 pages per month (ppm), by 50.2 per cent from £1.99 to £2.99, and the "Moderate" tier for 100 ppm climbs 28 per cent to £4.49.

HP Instant Ink's updated pricing

The new pricing plan

HP instant ink pricelist jan 2022

The old pricing plan

Cost for other plans are unchanged, these range from Light (15ppm) to the top end of 1,500 ppm. "All plans allow you to roll over unused pages up to 3x the plan amount," HP adds in the email. This again is no different to the previous policy.

"Your continued use of the Service after modification becomes effective will indicate your acceptance of the modified agreement. If you do not accept the agreement as modified, do not use the service and cancel it," it states.

Some customers affected by the price increase aren't best pleased. One told us: "The biggest annoyance for me is the fact that there's no increased rollover as an appeasement, its literally pay more or receive less by downgrading.

"Actually no, it's that fact that they're signing up suckers on the old rate today to tell them it's going up in price once they've roped them in. That's more annoying."

Print ink continues to be in short supply during the pandemic, and the cost of materials has risen, but that does not explain why HP chose to increase prices for only two of the seven plans. Maybe it simply wasn't happy with profit margins.

We have asked HP Inc to comment on this, and on whether the prices were going up in other countries in Europe and other continents. So far the company has resisted the temptation to give us an official statement.

The last time Instant Ink was in the spotlight is when HP decided to terminate the free entry level tier that allowed customers to print 15ppm gratis for life.

It subsequently buckled under pressure and told existing customers it would honour the pledge. New customers, however, were told they'd need to pay £0.99 per month. ®

Updated at 1406 UTC on 28 January to add

The PC and print vendor has sent us a statement:

HP regularly reviews pricing and makes adjustments based on market conditions while continuing to meet the needs of our customers. For competitive reasons, we don't publicly discuss the details of our pricing strategy. HP provides partners, customers, and resellers with advance notification of price adjustments.

It added that the new pricing plan, which will be added its website from the start of next month, is taking place in each country where Instant Ink is sold.

Other stories you might like

  • Lenovo halves its ThinkPad workstation range
    Two becomes one as ThinkPad P16 stands alone and HX replaces mobile Xeon

    Lenovo has halved its range of portable workstations.

    The Chinese PC giant this week announced the ThinkPad P16. The loved-by-some ThinkPad P15 and P17 are to be retired, The Register has confirmed.

    The P16 machine runs Intel 12th Gen HX CPUs, but only up to the i7 models – so maxes out at 14 cores and 4.8GHz clock speed. The laptop is certified to run Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and can ship with that, Ubuntu, and Windows 11 or 10. The latter is pre-installed as a downgrade right under Windows 11.

    Continue reading
  • US won’t prosecute ‘good faith’ security researchers under CFAA
    Well, that clears things up? Maybe not.

    The US Justice Department has directed prosecutors not to charge "good-faith security researchers" with violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if their reasons for hacking are ethical — things like bug hunting, responsible vulnerability disclosure, or above-board penetration testing.

    Good-faith, according to the policy [PDF], means using a computer "solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability."

    Additionally, this activity must be "carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services."

    Continue reading
  • Intel plans immersion lab to chill its power-hungry chips
    AI chips are sucking down 600W+ and the solution could be to drown them.

    Intel this week unveiled a $700 million sustainability initiative to try innovative liquid and immersion cooling technologies to the datacenter.

    The project will see Intel construct a 200,000-square-foot "mega lab" approximately 20 miles west of Portland at its Hillsboro campus, where the chipmaker will qualify, test, and demo its expansive — and power hungry — datacenter portfolio using a variety of cooling tech.

    Alongside the lab, the x86 giant unveiled an open reference design for immersion cooling systems for its chips that is being developed by Intel Taiwan. The chip giant is hoping to bring other Taiwanese manufacturers into the fold and it'll then be rolled out globally.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022