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European Mobile Prices Down Slightly in Q1

The costs of a mobile SIM-only plan have generally come down in most countries in Western Europe in the past year, according to the latest research by Telecompaper. The annual comparison of mobile prices across 16 countries also shows that in most countries operators are including more and more data in postpaid plans, without a major increase in prices. In the survey of more than 1,400 plans available on the market, the Telecompaper Q1 2018 EU Benchmark reportfound that Denmark remains the cheapest place for a mobile plan in all comparisons, and Greece and Portugal the most expensive.The study looks at the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a mobile plan, both with and without a high-end smartphone, and compares the lowest and median prices on offer, after correcting for purchasing power parity (PPP). Denmark was the only country with cheap prices in all comparisons, while France, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK fall into the range of mostly cheap countries, as their median TCOs fall below the median of the 16 countries in most categories. In contrast, Greece and Portugal remain the two most expensive countries.

The research found one of the most common plans across the 16 countries is 1,000+ minutes and more than 10GB+ per month, driven by a growing number of operators increasing their data bundles in the past year and more and more offering unlimited calls or data. The report shows the median total cost per month for this kind of plan fell to EUR 36 Sim-only in Q1 2018, compared to EUR 43 in Q1 2017. Denmark was the cheapest country in this range, with a median TCO of EUR 15, taking the top position from Italy last year. Italy remained one of the cheaper countries for this combination, at EUR 23, as did France, the UK and Finland.

“There are more and more plans available with large amounts of data, including unlimited offers appearing in several countries. However, the increase in data has not translated into major price increases in most countries, and we expect operators will continue to struggle to charge more for the growing data demand,” said Alejandra van de Roer, co-author of the report and senior research analyst at Telecompaper.

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The report also looks for the first time at the impact of the growing number of fixed-mobile offers across Europe. These plans help operators reduce churn, increase market share and grow average revenue per household, while for consumers they often come with an extra discount or service options. The report found that France had the highest share of plans bundling fixed and mobile, followed by Belgium and Portugal. On 42 percent of the plans, consumers received some kind of mobile benefit, often a discount. “We expect the number of plans with a fixed-mobile advantage to grow in the upcoming years, which could have an effect on mobile pricing,” said Marion ter Welle, co-author of the report and senior research analyst at Telecompaper. – Telecompaper

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