Tele2 relaunches an MVNO in Austria

Tele2 unveiled plans to again offer mobile services in Austria after reaching a deal to establish a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on T-Mobile Austria's network.

The company has provided few details thus far, saying only that it would provide nationwide network coverage for the business-to-business segment in the second half of 2015. It provided no details on consumer plans, saying only that more information would be forthcoming.

The move represents a return to the Austrian mobile market for Tele2, which in 2007 sold its Austrian MVNO operations to Telekom Austria. At the time, the company said the market environment left it little room for a profitable and sustainable MVNO operation.

Since then, the market conditions for MVNOs have become much more attractive in Austria, where mobile prices were for years among the lowest in Europe.

For example, Three Austria acquired Orange Austria in early 2013 and thereby reduced the number of mobile network operators (MNOs) from four to three: Telekom Austria's A1, T-Mobile Austria and Three Austria.

Hutchison Whampoa's H3G was also forced to comply with a number of obligations as part of the merger, one being to offer cheap wholesale access to MVNOs, but new entrants have been slow to materialise.

Meanwhile in January, figures from Arbeiterkammer Wien (AK)--the Vienna Chamber of Labour--indicated that the reduction in the number of MNOs has driven up prices: The AK said the cost for average phone and SMS users increased by around 29 per cent between September 2013 and December 2014, while the average cost for mobile data users increased 78 per cent over the same period.

Commenting on Tele2 Austria's resumption of MVNO activities, Niklas Sonkin, EVP for Central Europe and Eurasia at Tele2 AB, said: "We are happy to have reached an MVNO agreement with T-Mobile. This enables us to better meet our current customers' needs and become even more attractive on the market through more competitive offers."

The company said the mobile services would complement Tele2 Austria's current portfolio of broadband, fixed-line telephony and TV, making the operator "one of the most diversified providers in the Austrian telecommunication market."

For more:
- see this Tele2 release
- see this Tele2 release from 2007

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