German mobile market bucks economic trend

Remarkably, given the severe economic downturn sweeping across Western Europe, the German mobile market continued to grow strongly during the third quarter of 2008 with annual net additions of 12.73 million, the highest figure for seven years. This was in marked contrast in the UK where the figures were considerably less favourable with the mobile market growing by only 4.4 per cent, the second lowest figure ever recorded. Annual net additions in the UK were just 3.15 million. In Germany Q3 was the fourth successive quarter in which annual growth exceeded 13 per cent, a result which has not been achieved since 2001. At the end of the quarter the German mobile market had 105 million connections representing a penetration rate of 127.5 per cent. Growth in the German market is being driven by significant price reductions by all four operators.

T-Mobile continued to lead the market with 38.8 million customers despite recording just 400,000 net additions. This is the second successive Q3 that T-Mobile has the lowest growth--apparently high churn was the cause of the problem. Second placed Vodafone had 36.19 million customers at the end of the quarter having picked up net additions of 900,000. E-Plus continued to lead the market in terms of proportionate growth with an annual gain of 20.7 per cent, compared to 14.9 per cent for O2, 12.6 per cent for T-Mobile and 11.2 per cent for Vodafone. This pushed E-Plus' market share to 15.2 per cent. The other player in the German market, O2, has the largest proportion of contract customers and the highest ARPU with a quarterly average of 17.30 euros a month.

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