The TCL 2014 4G LTE Pricing Strategies report finds that 4G pricing is transitioning to become just access method for Mobile Data, other features are required to ensure premium pricing

Published: Sun 2 February 2014

Tariff Consultancy Ltd (TCL), the experts in international telecoms pricing, highlights the trends in 4G LTE pricing. Since 4G services were first launched from the end of 2009 onwards as a premium service, they have now become the standard for mobile data applications.


Although 4G services were launched as a price premium by most MNOs, by 2014 the majority of 4G LTE plans are now integrated within a broader mobile data tariff structure with pricing based mainly on monthly data allowance, but with some MNOs offering higher access speeds if the user opts for a larger data allowance. Rather than use 4G LTE services as a premium service most MNOs are now offering 4G LTE for free to maintain an existing mobile data price point. Price stability is now the objective rather than premium pricing.


The new TCL 2014 4G LTE Pricing Strategies report reviews the development of 4G LTE pricing for the four key regions of the EU, non-EU, Asia Pacific & Middle East regions and identifies the following main trends impacting on the MNO –


  • More MNOs are now offering 4G LTE for free – From a sample of 50 MNOs who have launched 4G LTE services, some 26 per cent offered the service at the same price as 3G HSPA at launch. Since launch more MNOs have integrated 4G LTE within their existing mobile data tariff structure, with French MNOs SFR and sosh being the most recent to launch free 4G pricing on selective plans in response to competitive pressure.  


  • More 4G LTE bundles are now available – At initial launch in the 2010 & 2011 period, 4G LTE was available purely as a Mobile Broadband service with typically only a couple of product options. But by 2013 MNOs had introduced a wide number of 4G LTE data bundles to cover a range of price points for Smartphone and Tablet users.


  • 4G LTE pricing reflects the range of 4G enabled products – More 4G LTE pricing is being introduced since 2012 to cater for Pre Pay, SIM-only & Tablet PC products with a wider range of price points and data allowances. Services are also being introduced purely for particular products – such as the Apple iPad for example.


  • Selected MNOs are combining data allowances with 4G speeds – Some MNOs are offering a mobile data tariff structure based purely on access speed, but more are offering a combination of data allowance plus 4G download speed as a premium price point, with T-Mobile Netherlands for example offering tiered 4G access speeds at a 1GB data allowance & above.


  • A number of new 4G pricing models are now emerging – There remains considerable experimentation with pricing models. Some MNOs are offering 4G LTE access as an upgrade option (up from 3G HSPA speeds). Others, particularly in the Middle East, are launching 4G LTE as a Home Broadband product with a high data allowance. And in the UK, 3 out of the 4 MNOs offer “4G-ready” tariffs as a premium to 3G services, but do so with higher data allowances and bundled content & apps.


The report also examines the changes in 4G LTE pricing for 15 key MNOs worldwide since they launched 4G services. In each case there has been an increase in the number of packages with a range of entry level pricing now being offered as well as prepaid options by many operators.


Increasingly MNOs are finding that the marketing of 4G LTE services remains challenging. The range of pricing models being deployed indicates that MNOs are experimenting to find the optimum package. 4G LTE is becoming a subset of an overall mobile data bundle.


MNOs are starting to recognize that a successful mass market 4G LTE offer needs to become more than a bundle of access speed and data allowance and contain extra features (such as content, roaming, Wi-Fi or smartphone upgrade bundles) if a premium price point is to be maintained in the long term. Just having a 4G LTE network alone is no longer enough.    



Note to the Editors

Contact: Margrit Sessions 0777 625 4827 if more information is required.

About the TCL 2014 4G LTE Pricing Strategies report – The TCL 2014 4G LTE Pricing Strategies report analyses the key pricing trends for MNOs in the EU, Non-EU, Asia Pacific & Middle East regions. The report draws on findings from the TCL Global LTE Tariff Tracker subscription service and provides pricing case studies for 15 MNOs that have launched 4G LTE services. The case studies include - Vodafone (Germany), Bouygues Telecom (France), KPN (Netherlands), Everything Everywhere (UK), TMN (Portugal), Telenor (Norway), MegaFon (Russia), Swisscom (Switzerland), NTT DOCOMO (Japan), Vodafone (New Zealand), Optus (Australia), SingTel (Singapore), Ooredoo (Qatar), Batelco (Bahrain) & Nawras (Oman). The report costs GBP £995 for a single user licence. Further information can be found on the TCL website at:


About TCL (Tariff Consultancy Ltd) – TCL is an international telecoms tariff research and consultancy company based in London. It provides a range of Tariff Tracker subscription services including the Global LTE Tariff Tracker and once off reports focused on mobile, Broadband and Data Centre tariff from around the world. Customers of TCL include regulators, enterprises and operators.

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