Three Austria overhauls mobile plans with a focus on roaming

Three Austria became the latest operator in Europe to introduce new mobile plans that include an enhanced focus on cheaper or inclusive roaming benefits.

The mobile operator - which competes with Telekom Austria's A1 and T-Mobile Austria - said five new tariffs will replace its previous voice offers and would also decouple the cost of airtime from the cost of the devices.

Like in the UK, Three Austria will offer the "3FeelLikeHome" benefit that essentially enables domestic minutes, text and data packages to be used abroad.

However, unlike in the UK the 3FeelLikeHome service for the European Union, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.S. will be offered as a bolt-on option rather than included in the plans for an extra charge of €1 ($1.11) a day when a consumer is abroad. However, the service will be included free of charge within the new Hallo Premium tariff, which costs €39 a month and includes 40 GB of data as well as unlimited minutes and texts.

The new plans start from €9 with or without a smartphone and also include LTE, six 3Mobile TV channels and the 3Schutzengel security package. They also allow unused data to be carried over to the following month using the existing 3Datenpolster (data reserve) option.

Three Austria CEO Jan Trionow said the new roaming pricing was a fair solution for everyone.

"Two thirds of Austrians went on holiday in the last 12 months, spending an average of 14 days elsewhere in the EU," he said. At the same time, one third of Austrians remained at home, he added.

The message of "worry-free" roaming or "roam-like-home" services has become a rallying cry of mobile operators in the European Union as they look towards a future in which roaming fees will be abolished in June 2017.

Vodafone UK also recently introduced free roaming in its domestic tariffs, for example.

The European Commission has been gradually reducing the caps on roaming fees across the EU. The latest reduction took effect from the end of April 2016, with the prices that mobile operators can charge on top of their domestic offerings capped at €0.05 per minute on outgoing calls, €0.02 per SMS sent, and €0.05 per MB of data.

For more:
- see the Three Austria release (in German)

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