UPDATED with DG Competition's response to Rewheel's concerns. How low should the wholesale data roaming cap be in 2017 to avoid the distortion of competition in North-Eastern domestic mobile markets where retail gigabyte prices are competitive?
Telenor’s Danish strategy is in tatters. Telenor’s 4 to 3 consolidation attempt was blocked by the European Commission while its ‘me too’ strategy has been a failure dragging down its profitability. Can Telenor turn the business around and return to profitability?
Before the planned merger a Danish operator was selling in Denmark a 4G LTE smartphone plan with 100 gigabytes for €39. Ahead of the planned merger the operator slashed the gigabytes down to 20 while keeping the price the same. After the merger was blocked the operator doubled the maximum gigabytes on its smartphone plans by launching a plan that packs 40 gigabytes.
[External article, POLITICO Europe] September 2015
“Neither Almunia’s [wholesale access] remedy in German and Ireland nor the exotic joint venture proposed remedies by Telenor and TeliaSonera in Denmark can remove the competitions concerns entirely in a four-to-three mobile consolidation,” said Antonios Drossos, managing partner at Rewheel, a telecoms consultancy.
[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required] June 2015
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner, has thrown down a marker of her intent to curtail consolidation in Europe’s telecoms industry by dismissing suggestions that a wave of big mergers is needed to boost investment. Research from Rewheel, a consultancy, suggests that prices rise sharply following merger approvals, citing the tie-up between Hutchison and Orange in Austria. However, telecoms executives retort that price rises tend to be matched by an increase in data capacity or improved services.
While in the neighbouring Swedish 4 operator competitive market gigabyte allowances doubled for same prices (40, 50 and 100 gigabyte smartphone plans are now available and on some Swedish networks 30% of the residential smartphone customers are now on the 20, 50 or 100 gigabyte plans) in Denmark two operators started moving in the opposite direction.
[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required] January 2013
Mobile users pay up to 10 times more to use smartphones in EU countries that lack an independent “challenger” telecoms group outside the large, dominant pan-European operators, according to Rewheel's research.