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Over Half of European PostPay Smartphone Users On 1GB or Above Tariffs

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The 1 GB or above monthly Mobile Data allowance now accounts for over half of Smartphone Post Pay contracts offered in 10 European markets from a TCL survey.

The TCL report analysed Smartphone Mobile Data pricing of 41 mobile networks across 10 key European markets for both Pre Pay & Post Pay services, and examines the trends in pricing from 2010 to 2013.

Mobile Data allowances are being bundled with the Smartphone and are a relatively new service with MNOs now offering an "integrated" tariff with Mobile Data as the core component.

Mobile Data is being offered as a core service, with monthly data allowances offered from 1 GB up to 10 GB. The most common Data bundle is the 1 GB allowance, but in markets such as Ireland Mobile Data allowances as high as 5GB per month are provided as standard (for the iPhone).

Additionally MNOs continue to migrate their Pre Pay customers to Post Pay Smartphone bundles. There is also growth in the provision of 30 Day contracts - as in France - where web-based deals offer a minimum contract term with higher Data allowances since Free Mobile entered the French market.

From research based on TCL's unique telecoms price tracker database there have been 3 distinct phases identified in the development of Mobile Data bundles with Smartphones which include -

  • Phase 1 - In 2010 the MNO started to offer Mobile Data as typically as a Bolt On to the Smartphone, with a relatively low Mobile Data allowance offered;
  • Phase 2 - Into 2011 the MNO introduced a range of Premium Smartphone packages which include Mobile Data, SMS and call minutes at a relatively high price point;
  • Phase 3 - Into 2012 there has been the introduction of many more Smartphone packages with many price points as an integrated tariff offering with a reduction of average pricing.

Average Post Pay Smartphone pricing has risen initially as MNOs focused on the Premium segment but then has reduced over time as more packages have been introduced.

Also there has been an introduction of "unlimited" Mobile Data packages into 2012. In Switzerland Swisscom now offer unlimited an Mobile Data allowance as standard, with the only price difference being for different access speeds - ranging from up to 1 Mbps, 7.2 Mbps, 21 Mbps and 100 Mbps. And H3G in Ireland and the UK also offer an "All you can eat Data" tariff as standard.

Swisscom has described the implementation of its new tariff structure as a means of freeing its customers from "bill shock" and allows the user to access Mobile Data without fear of being charged a supplementary service. Additionally Swisscom claims that users equate quality with the download access speed that is available.

In essence most European MNOs are treating Mobile Data as a core package offer. To the core package of Mobile Data the MNO will then add a bundle of call minutes and SMS which are used as part of a premium offering. And some MNOs are now starting to include international calls and roaming bundles (for calls or Mobile Data in Europe) as part of their premium offer.

But the common feature is the provision of monthly Mobile Data allowances across a number of price points - with other bundled call services and SMS services added to create a high price point.

But the introduction of higher Mobile Data allowances by the European operator is set to pose a challenge for the MNO as it seeks to differentiate its bundled Smartphone service in the future - the presence of so-called "all you can eat Data" packages will make it difficult to increase pricing for bundles over time.

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Tags: smartphones