New Research from Tariff Consultancy Ltd finds that MNO price levels in Europe have increased after operator consolidation, with increases seen particularly for entry-level pricing in 3 markets

Published: Mon 14 September 2015

Tariff Consultancy Ltd (TCL)  has published the 60th edition of its Tariff Trends SnapShot subscription service which analyses the impact of MNO consolidation on pricing levels in three European markets (Austria, Ireland & the UK).

The 60th edition marks a landmark of 3 years of SnapShot reports.


The 60th TCL SnapShot edition analyses mobile pricing in three European markets which have seen recent MNO mergers.

  • Orange Austria was acquired by 3 Austria in January 2013,
  • Telefonica O2 Ireland was acquired by 3 Ireland in March 2015
  • Orange UK was merged with T-Mobile to create Everything Everywhere in September 2012.

Austria & Ireland has seen the number of MNOs reduced from 4 to 3 operators and the UK market has seen the number of MNOs reduced from 5 to 4 operators.


Each of the three markets has seen an increase in average Post Pay pricing for smartphone bundles (including calls, SMS & mobile data), but with increases varying dramatically by MNO. The TCL SnapShot provides analysis of Pre-Merger & Post-Merger pricing with comparisons of average market pricing, lowest and highest Post Pay bundled rates. 


In Austria TCL finds that all MNOs have raised pricing but the merged MNO 3 Austria, has only raised average pricing by 9 per cent, but its rivals T-Mobile & A1 Austria have increased rates by 55 per cent and 81 per cent – chiefly through raising entry-level pricing.


But Irish MNO average Post Pay pricing has fluctuated since consolidation, with Vodafone seeing the largest increase of 47 per cent, but with 3 Ireland seeing an average decline of 2 per cent, and Meteor a fall of 4 per cent.       


UK MNO average Post Pay pricing has increased since the formation of EE, with EE’s average rates being 22 per cent higher than for Orange UK – with an increase in monthly rates particularly led by a 3-fold increase for entry-level tariffs (from Euro €4.3 up to €15.5 per month). Also 3 UK saw an increase of 45 per cent since the consolidation of EE and Telefonica O2 & Vodafone also seeing an increase in average rates of 22 per cent.


Since market consolidation has taken place Post Pay average pricing has increased, but at different rates. In the majority of cases after consolidation, MNOs have withdrawn their lowest entry-level Post Pay rates with a lesser increase in some of the higher Post Pay rates.


Although it is not inevitable that pricing will always increase after a period of MNO consolidation, the scope for product rationalization indicates that entry-level rates will be increased by the remaining MNOs. However, the increase in price levels will allow MVNOs to enter the market with bundles positioned at low price points undercutting the MNO – as in Austria with the launch of Hofer Telecom from the beginning of this year.


An understanding of the consequences of MNO consolidation and the effect on end user pricing is to become more necessary as MNOs in the UK and Italy look to merge their businesses.  


The TCL Tariff Trends SnapShot will continue to analyse developments in telecoms pricing worldwide - with forthcoming SnapShot subjects including the following:


    • LTE Pricing in the developing markets of Africa, Asia & South America,
    • German MNO pricing following the consolidation of E-Plus with Telefonica O2
    • The introduction of new no frills mobile players in mature MNO markets       


Note to the Editor

Contact: Keith Breed on 0949 111 435

About the TCL Tariff Trends SnapShot subscription service: The TCL Tariff Trends SnapShot subscription service is published in a PowerPoint format – typically of 25 slides or more per edition - with 20 editions published every year.

Each edition provides analysis of a pricing subject, either a contemporary issue or a service such as LTE Pricing or Roaming) or mobile data services The TCL Tariff Trends SnapShot subscription service costs GBP £795 per annum (20 editions) or GBP £195 per single edition. An archive showing all of the SnapShot editions is available on the TCL website

click here to view the 2015 series,  

click here to view the 2014 series

click here to view the 2013 series


About TCL (Tariff Consultancy Ltd): TCL is a London-based telecoms research company which specializes in providing telecoms tariff analysis based on a unique database of tariffs from MNOs all over the world. TCL provides a series of Tariff Tracker subscription services for fixed telecoms, mobile and Data Centre services, including the TCL Global LTE (Long Term Evolution) Tariff Tracker & the TCL Global Mobile Broadband/Mobile Internet 3G/4G Tariff Tracker & Analysis subscription services. Further information about TCL can be found on the TCL website at:

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