Report highlights huge disparities in European mobile pricing
Rewheel has the distinction of being - as far as I'm aware - the only European consultancy brave enough to make a minor nuisance of itself by calling out the most glaring contradiction in European telcoms - the vast differences in national calling costs (some of the largest differences, by the way, are often between different subsidiaries of the same pan-European telco).
To now, however, the telcos were always able to use the complexity of their own tariffs to provide some wriggle-room when being questioned by customers, critics and regulators. "It's all very complex and you can't compare like with like," was the plea.
But now, claims Rewheel, observers like themselves are able to make watertight comparisons between national tariffs thanks to the operators themselves, who have (nearly) all established what can be viewed as standard 'all in' tariffs over the past year or so.
With one price for a month's broadband access and unlimited calls and texts in the package, there is no place to hide.
"Smartphone tariffs with unlimited minutes and texts are directly comparable, allowing for a straightforward separation of a variable gigabyte charge and a fixed, data traffic-independent charge," says Pal Zarandy of Rewheel.
And what do we see?
Vast differences, that's what.
"Deutsche Telekom’s gigabyte pricing in the Greek mobile market, a protected oligopoly, is a full 22 (that's twenty two or 2,200 per cent) higher than TeliaSonera’s and 32 times higher than Hutchison’s gigabyte pricing in the competitive Danish mobile market," says Zarandy.
And there's a pattern.
"Big European telco groups (e.g. Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom) gigabyte prices are 550 per cent higher than prices from data progressive Nordic incumbents (e.g. TeliaSonera) and 1500 per cent (or 15 times) higher than prices from challenger operators’ (e.g. Hutchison)."
You can download the Rewheel report here