European mobile broadband packages too complex

10 Jan 2008

The average price for 100MB inclusive volume mobile broadband in Europe stands at €16 but between countries and operators billing is complex and this is impeding uptake, says a new report.

According to BroadGroup Tariff Services, inclusive megabyte (MB) pricing is the most commonly used tariff structure by 79 operators in 30 countries worldwide.

Over 95pc of the operators offer a 1GB and higher volume inclusive product.

Some 16pc of operators offer a time-based product such as minutes, hours and days, in addition to megabyte inclusive products.

The report found evidence of a general correlation between pricing and per MB inclusive packages across the tariffs and service providers covered in Europe.

Although prices in certain volume categories show examples of dramatic divergences, average prices trended with a reasonable level of consistency.

500MB, 3GB, and 5GB are key pricing categories with the 5GB product offered by 24pc of all surveyed operators. The report also reveals the three most offered products in 2004 (1MB, 10MB, and 50MB) are now half the price they were then.

Overall however, the report and tariff tables reveal operators employ a multiplicity of taxes, excess charging tiers, roaming definitions and pricing and billing increments.

“If it is accepted that customer perception of data is changing, and pricing needs to be accessible, the complexity associated with Mobile Broadband pricing must also change,” says Margrit Sessions, BroadGroup Tariff Services.

“Operators are starting to introduce simpler pricing and bundling with Wi-Fi and other services. The current structures are not sustainable if congruence in pricing is to be achieved,” Sessions added.

In Ireland mobile broadband prices tend to start at below the international average on an introductory basis for three months before rising.

O2, for example, has a €15 per month offer that has a 10GB monthly data usage limit and after three months the service costs €30 per month.

Vodafone similarly has a €14.99 service that increases to €29.99 per month with a 5GB data usage limit.

3 Ireland’s HSDPA service costs €19.99 a month and comes with a 10GB data usage limit.

By John Kennedy