Three Austria overtakes T-Mobile to claim second place

Three Austria CEO Jan Trionow

Three Austria has overtaken T-Mobile Austria for the first time to become the market’s second-largest mobile network operator by number of customers.

According to the latest market report from the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR), Three Austria had a market share of 28.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. That equates to 3.83 million mobile customers. T-Mobile Austria was slightly behind with a 27.6 market share and 3.75 million customers.

Telekom Austria’s domestic unit, A1, remained in first place with a 40.1 per cent market share and 5.45 million customers. Other mobile service providers such as MVNOs and resellers accounted for a 4 per cent share of the market, with 546,000 customers.

Three Austria became the market’s number three operator in 2013 when it completed the acquisition of Orange Austria. At the time, it said its ambition was to increase its market share from 24 per cent to 30 per cent.

The operator has clearly made some progress since then, continuing an aggressive pricing strategy that is typical of the Three Group in Europe. For instance, Three Austria now offers Hallo smartphone tariffs with up to 40 GB of data as well as unlimited data plans under the Nimm3 Internet tariffs.

When it launched the new Hallo plans in June, the operator also placed an enhanced focus on cheaper roaming benefits throughout the European Union.

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

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

Three Austria CEO Jan Trionow said at the time that 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.

Meanwhile, the regulator’s market report, titled RTR Telekom Monitor, also found that the market’s mobile penetration stood at 156.1 per cent by the end of the first quarter, up from 154.8 per cent at the end of 2015. Total revenue from the sale of mobile services to end-users increased slightly by 0.6 per cent to €574.8 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2015.

Consumption of mobile data services continued to rise, increasing 11.4 per cent to 110,520 Terabytes in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the previous quarter. 4G take-up also strongly outpaced 2G/3G growth in terms of active SIM cards: the number of 4G SIM cards increased by 23.7 per cent on a quarterly basis to 1.25 million cards, while 2G SIM cards fell by 0.4 per cent to 1.95 million and 3G cards by 0.8 per cent to 10.42 million.

For more:
- see the RTR Telekom Monitor (in German)

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Telekom Austria expects modest revenue growth in 2016
Three Austria overhauls mobile plans with a focus on roaming
Orange brand disappears from Austria as 'the new Three' emerges