Telekom Austria gambles by lifting mobile data pricing, drops flat-rate

Telekom Austria is introducing higher-priced mobile data tariffs with the view that the growing demand for data will enable it to reverse declining ARPUs.

The company says it will move away from offering flat-rate data bundles, and offer customers tariffs based upon transmission speeds and the volume of data they choose, according to Bloomberg.

"The mobile telecoms market is changing Europe-wide at a furious pace," Telekom Austria Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter told Reuters.

"Over-the-top players are using an infrastructure in which they are not investing with their messaging and voice services--to the detriment of mobile companies and their customers," he added.

Starting this week, Telekom Austria will offer mobile data packages starting from €19.90 per month to its existing fixed-line customers, while mobile-only customers will be charged €59.90 for those wanting the highest data volume and download speeds, according to Reuters.

All the new tariffs include unlimited voice and texts, with apps for photo and document storage, contacts and security from Telekom Austria's partner Vodafone.

"This is a big sign to the competition and a considerable raise compared to older tariffs," Raiffeisen Centrobank analyst Bernd Maurer told Bloomberg. The country's operators are now trying to generate profit from the consumption of data, he said.

Austria, which has a track-record of price wars between mobile operators, saw monthly ARPUs fall from more than €37 in 2005 to €17.40 in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Wireless expenditure in Austria as a percentage of GDP per capita is the second lowest of developed European countries.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this Bloomberg article

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