A new report on data pricing across the European Union highlights the continuing huge discrepancies between data charges per gigabyte in the 27 member states, and said German data charges are among the most expensive in the European Union.
According to Finnish market research firm Rewheel, the EU's single telecom market "is threatened by the lack of mobile network infrastructure-based competition within the national borders of half of EU's member states and from the noticeable absence of pan-European retail operators offering borderless European tariffs."
Rewheel said its analysis of national markets within the EU showed that German smartphone tariffs and data-only mobile packages are among the most expensive in EU.
"While a gigabyte of data volume on smartphones costs, on average, over €24 in Germany, in the UK it costs €7 and in Finland only €1.6, including comparable amount of traditional voice minutes and SMSs," the consultancy said. "As for data-only tariffs for laptops and tablets, on average, a gigabyte costs €6 in Germany, €4.5 in the UK and as low as €0.7 in Finland."
Rewheel blamed the stakes held by Germany's large operators in fixed broadband networks for the lack of competitive pricing in Germany.
"The German mobile market performs poorly despite its large size because it is dominated by four large multinational operator groups--Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefónica O2 and KPN E-Plus--that have vested interests in fixed broadband businesses in various European countries," the consultancy observed. "Obviously, Finnish-like prices and gigabyte allowances on mobile tariffs would erode the market relevance and asset valuation of these telcos' fixed broadband businesses."
According to Antonios Drossos, managing partner of Rewheel, the winners are the Nordic, UK and Austrian digital economies "because strong local regulatory oversight and competition enforcement in these countries is driving price competition, penetration and growth."
In terms of the data caps included within smartphone tariffs, Rewheel said independent challengers in progressive market (such as Tele2 and 3) offer 100 to 500 times more data for the same price than that offered by Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom or Telefónica in protected markets. The company has previously noted that mobile challengers are needed to drive down data prices in the EU.
- see this Rewheel report
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