E-Plus to build German mobile data market with cut-price offers

While most of the major European operators are subtly lifting their tariffs for mobile data, Germany's E-Plus aims to grow its market share by aggressively cutting data pricing.

In an interview for the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the CEO, Thorsten Dirks, said that he planned to target the mobile internet market in the same way that it has been successful with the mobile voice market. "We will invest in our mobile data businesses and build our market share with cut price offers."

Currently, E-Plus has a revenue share of between 16 and 17 per cent in the German mobile voice market, compared to only 10 per cent of the mobile data market. Dirk said that the company planned to increase its share of mobile data revenues to 20 per cent by 2014, helped by the aim of having the best data network in Germany by the end of 2012.

However, the CEO said that he had no immediate plans to compete with T-Mobile, Vodafone or O2 by offering LTE, believing that smartphones supporting the technology would not appear before 2013. He also confirmed that negotiations were underway with Apple for a distribution deal for the iPad, which could lead to further deals with the company.

Separately, the parent company, KPN Mobile, said that it planned to increase the investment budget for E-Plus to €750 million from today's €550 million. KPN Mobile's CFO, Carla Smits-Nusteling, said the company was focused on increasing market share even if this meant profit margins falling to 35 per cent from 40 per cent.

Smits-Nusteling also dismissed long-standing speculation that KPN was considering selling E-Plus.

For more on this story:
- read Trading Markets & Total Telecom

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