Vodafone Spain will reintroduce subsidised smartphones after losing more than 600,000 customers in the second quarter, while rivals Orange Spain and Yoigo gained market share.
Vodafone and Telefónica both decided to stop subsidising smartphones in Spain earlier this year as an experiment to see how new customers might react.
Both operators suffered as a result, with Orange Spain and TeliaSonera's Yoigo gaining 80,240 and 58,069 customers, respectively, in the second quarter. Vodafone Spain lost 639,000 customers in the second quarter, while Telefónica saw 830,000 customers move to other providers between April and August of this year, according to Reuters.
While Vodafone hastily reinstated temporary subsidies after its experiment ended in April, its said it will now launch new smartphone tariffs offering subscribers a free choice of the latest handsets including Apple's iPhone from €35 a month. "These are very competitive offers that can also be combined with ADSL plans from €9 a month [extra]," a Vodafone spokesman told Reuters.
These new packages include unlimited calls and text messages and high-speed data access and will be available from next week, according to Vodafone.
Telefónica has yet to fully reintroduce smartphone subsidies, leaving it as the only Spanish operator not offering the incentive on a general basis.
In an effort to grow its mobile customer base, Reuters notes that Spanish broadband provider Jazztel is offering a smartphone worth more than €200 for €5 a month if subscribers take a bundle of fixed and mobile services.
Separately, Vodafone Italy launched its LTE service this week in Rome and Milan. The operator is offering a package priced from €30 for 15 GB per month that includes an LTE dongle, with a Wi-Fi device and Samsung Galaxy 8.9 tablet being available as a package option.
Telecom Italia Mobile is also expected to launch its LTE service this week in Rome.
Vodafone Spain unveils budget brand to push back against rivals
Vodafone, FT Orange mull bids for Spain's Yoigo
Spanish operators to suffer 75% cuts to termination rates
Telefónica Spain struggles with churn as market share drops