Telecompaper study shows Italy cheapest for mobile postpaid in Europe, Greece most expensive

Tuesday 14 May 2019 | 10:24 CET | News
Italy has become the cheapest country for postpaid mobile services in Western Europe, following the launch of Iliad there as the fourth operator, according to the latest research by Telecompaper. The market researcher's annual comparison of mobile prices across 16 European countries also shows that in most countries operators are including more and more data in their postpaid Sim-only plans, without a major increase in prices. 

The EU Mobile Benchmark study looks at the total cost of mobile plans (TCO) in Q1 2019, both with and without a high-end smartphone, and compares the lowest and median prices on offer, after correcting for purchasing power parity (PPP). Italy was the only country with cheap prices in all comparisons, while Denmark, France, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK fall into the range of mostly cheap countries, as their median TCOs fall below the median of the 16 countries in most categories of plan. Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are mostly expensive countries, with Greece the only country to show TCOs above the median of the 16 countries in all four comparisons.

Less choice, more data

In several countries the choice for consumers was limited further in the past year, with fewer plans on offer. In Austria and Italy, consumers can choose from just three ranges of Sim-only plans, and in Ireland there were only two ranges available. At the same time, the number of plans with higher volumes of data included continues to increase, with over 60 percent now including at least 5GB, up from around 50 percent last year.

"There are more and more plans available with large amounts of data, including unlimited offers appearing in several countries. However, the increase in data has not translated into major price increases in most countries, and we expect operators will continue to struggle to charge more for the growing data demand," said Marion ter Welle, co-author of the report and senior research analyst at Telecompaper.

Looking at one of the most common plans across the 16 European countries, of 1,000+ minutes and more than 10GB+ per month on Sim-only, the research showed a drop in the median total cost per month to EUR PPP 29 in Q1 2019, compared to EUR 36 in Q1 2018. Italy was the cheapest country in this range, with a median TCO of EUR 15, switching places with Denmark, which led the survey last year. Denmark closely followed Italy with a TCO for this combination of EUR 16. Other cheap countries were France, Austria, Ireland, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK. 

France leads in FMC offers 

The mobile prices are increasingly influenced by bundled packages with fixed services. Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) is becoming a common strategy for operators in many European countries, in an effort to reduce churn, increase market share and grow average revenue per household. The report found that France has the highest share of mobile plans with FMC advantages, followed by Switzerland and Austria. 

In the majority of plans, the FMC advantage was a mobile benefit, namely in 65 percent of all the plans with a FMC advantage, up from 42 percent last year. "While our analysis is skewed somewhat due to covering only the mobile perspective, the emphasis on mobile discounts suggests that limiting mobile churn and gaining market share are greater concerns for operators offering FMC advantages than boosting mobile ARPU," said Telecompaper analyst Marion ter Welle.

The study is based on available subscription plans from all MNOs in the 16 European countries and most of the their owned sub-brands. In total, 1,307 plans from 72 operators in 16 countries were compared, including both Sim-only and the plans with a typical top-range smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S9). The TCO also incorporates all monthly subscription or connection costs, promotional discounts and corrections for differences in purchasing power across the 16 countries. In addition to the median TCO, the report also analyses the lowest available price plans.

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Categories: Mobile & Wireless
Companies: Iliad / Telecompaper
Countries: Europe
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