Germany's operators step up battle for subscribers with new price plans

Germany's three mobile operators unveiled new mobile pricing in a renewed effort to attract and retain subscribers in this highly competitive market.

Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Germany have enhanced, or plan to enhance, their flagship smartphone plans, each claiming to offer higher LTE speeds and more inclusive data for the same price. O2 Germany, meanwhile, is relaunching the former E-Plus secondary brand Blau with a range of new tariffs and a new market presence.

Deutsche Telekom has focused on its quadruple-play MagentaEINS plans, introducing larger data volumes and higher LTE speeds to the separate mobile element (MagentaMobil) of these multi-play packages. The company offers incentives to quad-play subscribers in order to drive take-up of its mobile and fixed plans, and now has close to 1.5 million quad-play users.

Vodafone Germany, which also offers a multi-play option under the All-in-One plan, plans to raise data speeds and increase data allowances in its flagship smartphone plans later this week.

As is the case in several of its European markets, Vodafone Germany markets its smartphone plans under Vodafone Red. As of Sept. 11, the entry-level Red 1.5 and Red 3 plans will both offer data speeds of up to 225 Mbps, which was previously only available with the premium Red 8 and Red 20 plans. The inclusive data volumes in the two lower-price plans have also been boosted to 2 GB and 4 GB respectively, while prices have been maintained at the same level.

Vodafone added that it was continuing to upgrade its LTE network in order to support its data speeds, noting that it was currently investing €4 billion ($4.5 billion) over two years. So far, the company said it has upgraded 80 per cent of the overall network.

O2 Germany, which is in the process of integrating the E-Plus network after parent company Telefónica Deutschland acquired the rival operator last year, now plans to relaunch the former E-Plus brand Blau with a range of new tariffs and a new market presence.

Under the slogan "weniger bla, mehr Blau" (less blah, more Blau), the new Blau will come to market on Sept. 15 with entry-level smartphone plans starting at €9.99 for 300 inclusive "units" (either minutes or texts) and 300 MB of data.

The move further confirms that O2 Germany plans to retain former E-Plus' brands, which also include Base and Simyo. However, the brands will not have a separate high street presence: for example, all Base shops will be converted to O2 shops by the end of the year.

In November last year, Telefónica Deutschland agreed to sell yourfone, the secondary brand launched by E-Plus in April 2012, to its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partner Drillisch, but stressed that it did not intend to sell any further customers after its merger with E-Plus.

For more:
- see this Vodafone Germany release
- see this O2 Germany release
- see this Deutsche Telekom release

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