Music downloads: up to 10 euros per track, claims study

While some mobile operators in Europe may charge as little as €0.75 to download a music track, new research indicates that data pricing varies so significantly between operators and countries that the consumer can end up paying up to €10 for each downloaded song.

A study, carried out on behalf of mBlox, claimed that the UK was the most expensive country to download a music track, with France not far behind, and Germany being the cheapest by some considerable margin. The loophole for operators, seemingly, is within the small print outlining ‘fair usage' within the T&Cs, effectively enabling operators to charge much higher rates.

According to Andrew Bud, chairman of mBlox, next year could be the pivotal year for rich mobile content. "But for this to happen, consumers need a transparent pricing mechanism to purchase rich content. Content providers need to be sure that their consumers are treated fairly," he said. "The current hope that flat-rate data will be the total solution is fundamentally flawed as market penetration is not high enough nor is it likely to be for some considerable time."

"To rebuild consumer trust and unlock the potential of the mobile content industry, we need to complement flat rate schemes with a 'sender-pays' business model, which ensures that the sender is able to purchase data at a wholesale cost and consequently offer fair and transparent pricing to consumers," concluded Bud.

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