Operators charge 15 times more per GB in Germany than Finland

Mobile operators are charging over three times more per gigabyte in Germany than in the UK and up to 15 times more than in some smaller EU member states such as Finland, analysis published this week has revealed.

Research conducted by Finnish consultancy Rewheel for its EU27 mobile data competitiveness report shows that in markets such as Finland, Sweden and Denmark, smartphone tariffs are up to ten times cheaper and radio spectrum utilisation is ten times higher than in Germany, the EU’s largest market. The consultancy firm attributed this gulf to the fact that the German market is served by international operator groups Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Telefonica and KPN E-Plus, none of which are present in the other three markets.

In EU markets where international operator groups are not present, consumers get on average ten times more smartphone data volume when spending €24 than in markets where they are. They also get twice as many minutes and SMS messages allowed in their packages.

As a result Rewheel, which has submitted its report to the European Commission, has called for provisions in the EU’s Regulatory framework for electronic communications that will mandate national regulatory and competition authorities to carry out periodic market analysis and determine the minimum number of national mobile network operators necessary to foster competition.

It has also suggested the EU block the takeovers of independent challenger operators by large national incumbents in the same market, and of operator groups that do not operator in those markets.

According to Rewheel, the EU should also introduce and track the mobile data consumption per capita for member states and mobile data consumption per customer for MNOs.

“Penetration alone is not an adequate metric of digital progressiveness if consumption is systematically severely restricted by the supply side (MNOs),” the firm said.

In addition the firm said EU’s single telecom needs pan-European retail operators that offer borderless tariffs.

“Why there are none today? Clearly the multinational incumbent telco groups have no incentive to end the roaming feast or offer Austrian level prices to Germans,” the firm added, noting that T-Mobile Austria charges €17 while T-Mobile Germany charges €96 for the same smartphone tariff allowances.

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