The state of 4G pricing – 1H2019 – Digital Fuel Monitor 11th release
April 2019

Gigabyte prices in 4-MNO markets continue to fall faster than in 3-MNO markets
  • As we have reported earlier gigabyte prices in 4-MNO markets have been falling faster than in 3-MNO markets.
  • By April 2019 the gap between the median gigabyte price of 4G smartphone plans in 3-MNO versus 4-MNO markets widened further to 113%. It was 81% during October 2018 and 55% a year ago in April 2018.
What is wrong with competition in the Canadian, Japanese and US markets?
  • Gigabyte prices in the Canadian, Japanese and US markets are a universe apart from prices in 4-MNO competitive large European markets or from the ultra-competitive Israeli 5-MNO market.
  • The median smartphone plan gigabyte price in Canada was 24 times higher while in Japan and the US was 15 times higher than median prices in 4-MNO competitive large European markets.
Key market developments
  • Italian gigabyte prices continue to fall off a cliff following Iliad’s seismic launch as the new 4th MNO. The country median gigabyte price was down 56% compared to October 2018 and 87% compared to April 2018.
  • Dutch gigabyte prices have stopped falling after the unconditional approval of the T-Mobile and Tele2 4 to 3 merger.
How many gigabytes 30 EUR buys in 4G smartphone plans?
  • By April 2019 more than 50 operators have launched 4G smartphone plans with truly unlimited mobile data volume in 23 out of 41 EU28 & OECD markets.
How many 4G gigabytes €5, €10, €15, €20, €25, €30, €40, €50, €60, €70 and €80 could buy in EU and OECD markets on smartphone plans?
Gigabyte prices in mobile and wireless home broadband plans
  • US and Canadian median mobile broadband gigabyte prices were 6 times higher than the median price in OECD markets and 10 times higher than the median price in EU28 markets.
  • Japanese consumers paid nearly 5 times more than an average European for mobile broadband.
  • 40 EUR (˜60 CAD, 5063 YEN, 45 USD) bought US, Canadian and Japanese consumers the least mobile broadband gigabytes among all 41 EU28 & OECD markets.
How many 4G gigabytes €5, €10, €15, €20, €25, €30, €40, €50, €60, €70 and €80 could buy in EU and OECD markets on mobile broadband and wireless home broadband plans?
The country median gigabyte price while it is an important price metric it is not the only price metric that matters. The price of entry level plans (e.g. 20 GB) or how many gigabytes 20 EUR buys determines a market’s affordability.
Gigabyte prices are even higher in the United States and Japan in mass market affordable plans that cost 30 EUR or less (˜45 CAD, 3800 YEN, 34 USD) compared to expensive plans that packed more gigabytes, hurting the most vulnerable consumers. In competitive EU 4-MNO markets consumers enjoy low gigabyte prices even in very affordable plans that cost €20 or less. In Canada we found only three plans that cost 30 EUR or less in April 2019.
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