Vodafone Spain reverses course, reinstates handset subsidies

Vodafone Spain is hurriedly reinstating handset subsidies after experiencing a mass exodus of customers. The company plans to offer subsidised smartphones for a limited period this summer.

In an effort to downplay the move, a Vodafone spokesman told Reuters: "We always launch new promotions during summertime and this year we have decided to include the cost of the phone in the tariff, but the promotion is only temporary, until Sept. 15."

The Spanish telecoms regulator recently revealed that Vodafone has lost over 600,000 mobile customers since April--when it stopped offering smartphone subsidies, while Telefónica's Movistar lost 572,000 users in April and May.

Both companies have been hurt from the decision by France Telecom's Orange not to drop handset subsidies. Orange gained 23,000 new customers in May alone.

However, an unnamed Telefónica source says the operator will not reintroduce subsidies, and instead will focus on promoting an offer designed to stop Orange taking much more of Telefónica's market share.

"We have a promotion in place for Orange clients who want to sign up with Telefónica. They get a free handset and if necessary we will pay any penalty Orange could charge them for changing their operator early," the source told Reuters.

For more:
- see this Reuters article

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