Fierce competition drives down EU mobile prices

Europe’s mobile industry racked up some of the steepest falls in consumer pricing of any business in the region between 2006 and 2010.
Figures from the GSM Association (GSMA) show mobile prices fell by an average of 11% to 13% in the 27 European Union member states over the period. The Association believes the declines highlight how tough competition in the sector is, and the benefit to consumers of a wide choice of tariffs.
Regular statistics from the Association show that mobile penetration hit 128% in 2010, equivalent to 656 million active SIM cards. The number of actual mobile users is lower at 456 million, due to subscribers holding multiple accounts.
However, the GSMA warns that Europe must match US levels of ICT investment to truly reap the benefits of the high mobile usage. Doing so could add €760 billion to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2020, the Association predicts.
Total European mobile revenues hit €174 billion in 2010, enough to put the industry on-par with the region’s aerospace business, and ahead of pharmaceuticals, GSMA director general Anne Bouverot says. The industry also contributed roughly €83 billion to the public purse in 2010, the bulk of which (€65 billion) came direct from mobile operators.
“Given the right opportunities and environment, the mobile industry is expected to continue investing strongly in new technologies and new services. Support of future technologies, by operators, vendors and regulatory stakeholders such as the European Commission, are vital for future economic growth,” Bouverot states.

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