DFMonitor-PRO and public mobile data pricing and network economics insights, research notes, reports, external articles 2010–2017
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017


release
5G
zero-rating
mobile-first
roaming
spectrum
massiveMIMO
networkeconomics
pricing
merger
O2 – Ready to disrupt the German tight oligopoly market
2017
networkeconomics
mobile-first
pricing
merger
spectrum
5G
massiveMIMO
Germany
Telefonica
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone

April 2017
In March 2017 Telefonica O2 Germany announced 3.5 GHz (they have 83 MHz) Massive MIMO (= very high capacity LTE macro sectors) field trials with Huawei for wireless home broadband and 4K video. Our models predict that O2's macro site grid and spectrum resources (FDD+TDD) could allow it to drive fixed-to-mobile broadband substitution in Germany by connecting millions of households with HD TV service on its high capacity LTE network.

Capacity utilization and fixed-to-mobile broadband substitution potential – A study of 64 European operators
2017
networkeconomics
mobile-first
spectrum
5G
massiveMIMO
Finland
United Kingdom
Poland
Austria
Germany
Hutchison
Telefonica
Play
Elisa

March 2017
When LTE base stations are upgraded to 'Gigabit' speed the gigabyte volume capacity of the networks also greatly expands. We modelled LTE network capacity based on existing FDD and TDD spectrum holdings (and potential acquisitions in 2.3 and 3.4-3.8 GHz bands) and sizes of the macro site grids. Without and with Massive MIMO in the TDD bands. Topical for operators contemplating fixed-to-mobile broadband substitution ahead of upcoming 700, 1500 (SDL), 2300, 3400-3600 MHz spectrum auctions.

Four year comparative study of unit prices in 4-MNO and in the 4 to 3 consolidated German & Austrian markets
2017
pricing
merger
Germany
Austria
Italy
Denmark
United Kingdom
France
Poland
Sweden
Netherlands
Hutchison
Telefonica
Iliad
Play
Tele2
Vimpelcom

January 2017
The gap between gigabyte prices in the 4 to 3 consolidated Austrian & German markets and prices in 4-MNO markets where no consolidation has taken place had substantially increased by September 2016

Tight oligopoly mobile markets in EU28 in 2016
2016
spectrum
networkeconomics
pricing
merger
mobile-first
zero-rating
Germany
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
Orange

December 2016
Fixed-line broadband interest, zero-rating video and big telco ownership impedes competition in mobile markets

Hutchison Austria quadrupled data allowances after national regulatory authority’s intervention on zero-rating video
2016
Austria
Hutchison
zero-rating
data-caps

December 2016
The regulator intervened along the EU net neutrality rules and BEREC guidelines that prohibit differential throttling when the internet-access data cap is exhausted.

Is spectrum usage harmonised across the EU28 national mobile markets?
2016
5G
spectrum
mobile-first
networkeconomics
Vodafone
Telefonica
DeutscheTelekom
Orange
KPN
DNA
Elisa
Tele2
Finland
Greece

November 2016
Spectrum harmonisation: the key to 5G? Rewheel's material presented on the ECTA Regulatory Conference 2016

The Commission proposed wholesale data roaming cap of €8.5/GB is anomalous and will distort competition in North-Eastern mobile markets where retail gigabyte prices are competitive
2016
roaming
networkeconomics
Finland
Poland
Denmark
France
United Kingdom
Italy
Germany
Spain

October 2016
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?


Finnish-like unlimited mobile data model now proliferating in Europe
2016
Finland
Germany
Hungary
Elisa
Vodafone
DNA
mobile-first
spectrum
roaming
pricing
networkeconomics

[External post, Linkedin]
October 2016
Efficient use of radio spectrum resources: Elisa Finland is the world's most efficient operator in turning MHz-s into gigabytes. Elisa in Finland pumps 26 times as much gigabyte per MHz per population as Vodafone in Germany. Unlimited mobile data model spreading in Europe, increasing North-South tentions in the EU mobile data roam like at home debate.

Italian mobile merger proves 4 is the magic number
2016
Iliad
Italy
Hutchison
Wind
Vimpelcom

[External article, POLITICO PRO, subscription required]
September 2016
If Iliad has the same growth trajectory in Italy as it has had in France, Rewheel expects Iliad will control 20 percent of the market within five years.

Xavier Niel, the most aggressive telecom entrepreneur in Europe, is officially on his way to Italy
2016
Iliad
Italy
Hutchison
Wind
Vimpelcom

[External article, Bloomberg]
September 2016
Article presents DFMonitor EU-US 4G prices analaysis chart

Effective structural remedies for Hutchison-WIND 4 to 3 Italian mobile merger
2016
Iliad
Italy
Hutchison
Wind
Vimpelcom

September 2016
This research report was submitted to Commissioner Vestager and DG Competition on 30th May 2016, three months prior to the European Commission's announcment (link) of approving the merger subject to remedies.

Why T-Mobile and Sprint’s limited unlimited plans won’t open the data floodgates
2016
United States
DeutscheTelekom
Softbank

[External article, Telecom TV]
August 2016
“Once you move away from volume plans and down the unlimited route, the substitution effect will start taking shape. It takes time for the consumers to realise that they do not need to pay twice for the same thing.”


EU’s 5G competition challenge
2016
5G
mobile-first
networkeconomics

July 2016
A handful of big telco groups – with vested interests in fixed-line broadband – impose very restrictive mobile internet usage caps. This raises serious concerns that these telco groups – that tightly control most EU national markets – will not be incentivised to sell competitively priced 5G internet access.

Success of the unconventional Finnish mobile data model
2016
Finland
Hungary
mobile-first

[External post, Linkedin]
July 2016
A few mind-opening facts about the unconventional Finnish mobile data model. Linkedin post by Rewheel's senior partner.


O2 nearly triples GB volume allowances (for the same price) after the Commission blocked the 4 to 3 merger in the UK
2016
United Kingdom
Telefonica
O2
Hutchsion

July 2016
Before the blocked merger £25 bought O2 customers 8 gigabytes. Now O2 customers get three times more gigabytes i.e. 25GB by spending £25

Mobile Price Wars: No Sign of Peace in Europe
2016
United States
Iliad
France
Verizon
ATT
DeutscheTelekom
Softbank
Hutchison
Italy
United Kingdom
Telefonica
Vodafone

[External article, The Wall Street Journal]
June 2016
The gap between European and U.S. mobile pricing seems likely to remain wide.

The EC proposed wholesale data roaming cap of €8.5/GB is much higher than domestic retail prices across most EU states
2016
roaming
pricing

June 2016
The Commission proposed wholesale data roaming cap of €8.5/GB appears to be carefully calibrated to protect the very high domestic retail prices charged by operators in tight oligopoly markets (e.g. Germany, Spain) while penalizing operators with competitive much lower domestic retail prices (e.g. Finland, Denmark, Poland)

Mobile data usage (gigabyte volume) in Finland is set to overtake fixed-line broadband usage in Germany in 2016
2016
Finland
Germany
mobile-first
Elisa
Dna
TeliaCompany
networkeconomics

May 2016
In 2016 mobile data volume consumption per person in Finland is set to exceed fixed-line broadband volume consumption per person in Germany. Anecdotal evidence reported by WDR (German public media) indicated that younger users are frustrated by very restrictive smartphone plan volume caps.


Telenor Denmark – Turnaround strategy
2016
Telenor
Denmark
mobile-first
networkeconomics

April 2016
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?

Three years after the 4 to 3 merger €25 buys Austrians only half the gigabyte allowance than it did before the merger approval
2016
Hutchison
Austria

March 2016
Before the merger Austria was ranked as the 3rd most competitive mobile market among EU28. Three years after the merger Austria has fallen to the 10th place.

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? Probably Telefonica and Hutchison
2016
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Iliad
Telefonica
merger

[External article, Telecom TV]
February 2016
"Here’s the deal. I think that Hutchison (owners of 3) will be willing to complete the merger with O2 even if it meant a new fourth operator had to be established in the market. But that would depend on who the operator was."

The approval of the 4 to 3 Telefonica E-Plus merger with Mickey Mouse MVNO remedies made Germany the least competitive market in EU28
2016
Germany
KPN
Telefonica

February 2016
Denmark vs Germany. Decoupling of mobile internet access prices and gigabyte consumption.

Hutchison has increased prices in Austria by up to 92% after the 4 to 3 merger was approved with Mickey Mouse MVNO remedies
2016
Austria
Hutchison

February 2016
Unit prices (retail price / GB volume allowance) ≠ Unit revenues (revenues / actual GB consumption)

Price competition intensified in Denmark in the run-up to the Commission’s decision and after the 4 to 3 merger was blocked
2016
Denmark
TeliaSonera
Telenor

February 2016
The average gigabyte price in Denmark is now 63% lower than it was in April 2015 when the European Commission opened an in-depth investigation

Effectiveness of MVNO wholesale access remedies
2016
MVNO
mergers
remedies

January 2016
Comprehensive analysis of commercial and merger mandated MVNO wholesale access frameworks and assessment of their efficacy in restoring effective competition in 4 to 3 mobile mergers

Hutchison defies Vestager and increases prices, ahead of its planned acquisition of o2 in the UK, for the fourth time
2016
United Kingdom
Three
Hucthison
Telefonica

January 2016
Hutchison appears to be confident that price increases will not deter the European Commission from approving the 4 to 3 merger

Tight oligopoly mobile markets in EU28 in 2015
2016
spectrum
pricing
merger
mobile-first
zero-rating
Germany
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
Orange

January 2016
Comprehensive analysis of factors that give rise to unilateral anti-competitive effects leading to non-competitive outcomes and consumer harm in tight mobile oligopolies.

KPN’s message to Liberty Global: Swallow the remedies and complete the merger or else I go “truly mobile” and disrupt the market with mobile-only play
2015
KPN
Libertyglobal

November 2015
The statement above is our interpretation of the motive behind the launch by the KPN group in one of its markets of “truly mobile” smartphone plans with enough mobile internet gigabytes to “live completely mobile”.


The competition effect – After Telenor’s and TeliaSonera’s merger was blocked a Danish operator doubled its smartphone plan cap from 20 to 40 gigabytes
2015
Denmark
TeliaCompany
Telenor

September 2015
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.

Rewheel believe that the Commission will no longer accept MVNOs as an effective remedy in a merger situation
2015
Denmark
TeliaCompany
Telenor
MVNO
merger

[External article, Reuters]
September 2015
But in Denmark Vestager indicated that she wanted the creation of a new rival network owner, said Antonios Drossos, a consultant at Rewheel, which has opposed past mobile consolidation deals.

Telecoms antitrust decision sends chills from UK to Italy
2015
Denmark
United Kingdom
Italy
merger

[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.

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three Italy halved the gigabytes in its flagship smartphone plan and launched its own zero-rated film store
2015
Italy
Vimpelcom
Hutchison
merger
zero-rating

September 2015
- Ahead of its planned merger with Wind in Italy Hutchison Three has halved the gigabytes in its flagship 4G LTE smartphone mobile internet access plan and launched its own zero-rated (unlimited gigabytes at €0/GB) film store.

European mobile telecoms - together we stand
2015
Austria
Hutchison
Orange
merger

[External article, The Economist, print edition]
August 2015
Antonios Drossos of Rewheel, a Finnish consulting firm, sees things differently. His firm analysed the prices customers paid in Austria and found some had risen by as much as 80% since the merger. “In any event,” he says, “customers should be getting more for less: the cost of mobile gigabytes has plummeted as operators get more spectrum, pay much less for network equipment and build more cells. The question is how much better a deal they would be offered now if a fourth operator were still in the market.”

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three UK doubled the price of its flagship smartphone plan
2015
Hutchison
Telefonica
United Kingdom
merger

August 2015
Ahead of its planned merger with Telefonica O2 in the UK Hutchison Three has more than doubled (+113%) the price of its flagship 4G LTE smartphone plan.

Tight oligopolies and the need for ex ante regulation – Why BEREC is right and ETNO is wrong
2015
tight-oligopoly
mobile-first
zero-rating
pricing

August 2015
There are substantial empirical market evidences supporting the notion that close to half of EU’s mobile markets exhibit tight oligopoly non- or sub-competitive market outcomes.


German wireless spectrum auction raises 5 bln euros
2015
Germany
spectrum
700MHz

[External article, Reuters]
June 2015
"Five billion is a small fraction of the valuation of this spectrum mix based on the U.S. auction outcome, normalised for German population," said Antonios Drossos co-founder of Finnish telecoms advisory firm Rewheel.

UK and French 4-network-operator competitive mobile markets versus the consolidated German protected oligopoly – 2Q 2015
2015
United Kingdom
France
Germany
Iliad
Hutchison
DeutscheTelekom
Vodafone
Telefonica
EverythingEveywhere
SFR
BouyguesTelecom
Orange

June 2015
Triggered by the planned mergers in the UK, Commissioner Vestager’s assertion that “In fact, infrastructure investment can be stimulated by competition” and by the court challenge filed by Airdata AG against the Commission’s unlawful approval of Telefonica E-Plus German merger we take a closer look at effective competition and in particular 4G LTE mobile internet access (smartphone plan) prices and hotspot/tethering restrictions in the consolidated German protected oligopoly, UK and France.

EU’s Margrethe Vestager hits out against telecoms consolidation
2015
Austria
Hutchison
Germany
Ireland
Telefonica
United Kingdom
Italy
TeliaSonera
Telenor
Denmark
merger

[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.

10 gigabyte 4G basket EU28 & OECD country and operator rankings
2015
prices

June 2015
In this premium research note we present the 10 gigabyte basket EU28 & OECD country and operator ranking for 4G LTE unlimited (>1,000) minute & SMS smartphone plans that include hotspot/tethering functionality for the entire volume. MVNOs are not competitive!

Appeal stokes telecoms merger controversy
2015
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, POLITICO Europe]
June 2015
A small German mobile company has fired a legal salvo that could ricochet across the European telecoms industry with unknown consequences. “More competitors means lower prices for consumers and more investment into infrastructure,” said Antonios Drossos, managing partner at Rewheel, a telecoms consultancy. “Competition gives operators an incentive to differentiate themselves by investing.”

Austria becomes battleground in fight over mobile mergers
2015
Austria
Hutchison
merger

[External article, Reuters]
June 2015
"Everyone is having the first real conversation about the effects of the mergers on mobile prices, quality of service, and how to weigh these different objectives." Antonios Drossos, co-founder of Rewheel, thinks the methodology pushed by the big telecom companies is wrong and that remedies in Austria, Germany and Ireland are inadequate to ensure strong competition is maintained.

Telefónica’s KPN deal challenged over impact on competition
2015
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
June 2015
The €8.6bn acquisition by Telefónica of KPN’s German business is set to be contested in front of the EU general court after a rival argued that the deal had impaired competition in the country. The group also pointed to data from Finnish consulting company Rewheel that consolidation significantly increased mobile prices ... Rewheel said: “The European Commission approved the harmful four to three Telefónica E-Plus German merger by accepting ineffective commitments that could not remove the competition concerns entirely.”

Affordably priced 100 or unlimited gigabyte 4G LTE smartphone plans with tethering – Trouble is brewing for cable and fixed-line operators
2015
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

June 2015
4G LTE smartphone plans with 100 or unlimited gigabyte volume are promoted by European mobile operators as the ultimate packages for connecting computers and tablets and streaming movies while at home. Affordably priced 100, 200, 500 or unlimited gigabyte 4G LTE data only home broadband plans - Cheaper than cable.

Germany opens the bidding for mobile phone airwaves (700 MHz)
2015
Germany
Telefonica
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom
spectrum
700MHz

[External article, Reuters]
May 2015
Rewheel: "In this case, there are three players with equal market share of about a third. In such a case nobody is willing to pay extra for additional spectrum ... They are comfortable with the current status quo"

Europe’s great data divide - Not all countries are created equal when it comes to mobile data usage in the European Union.
2015
Germany
Hungary
Finland
France
United Kingdom
Poland
pricing

[External article, POLITICO Europe]
May 2015
POLITICO.eu reporting on the launch and key findings of the 3rd DFMonitor release.


Vestager on telecoms collision course with Juncker
2015
merges

[External article, POLITICO Europe]
May 2015
The European competition commissioner plans to take a closer look at acquisitions, sparking potential tensions with her boss (Rewheel commentary inside).

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – The Austrian mobile market has fallen considerably behind in competitiveness in EU28
2015
zero-rating
merges
Austria
Hutchison

May 2015
Smartphone tariff price competitiveness snapshots between December 2012 and May 2015. Before the price hikes that followed approval of Hutchison’s and Orange’s merger Austria used to rank as the country in EU28 with the second lowest 4 gigabyte smartphone tariff basket price. Now prices doubled and Austria has fallen to the fourteenth place.


The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – In Denmark the prices of mid range and high gigabyte usage smartphone plan baskets edged higher
2015
zero-rating
Denmark
Hutchison
TeliaCompany
Telenor
TDC

April 2015
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.

What Telefonica does not want EU competition and regulatory authorities to know
2015
Telefonica

April 2015
Telefonica published (link here) on their public policy blog a review of the Digital Fuel Monitor methodology. Telefonica’s critical review of the Digital Fuel Monitor methodology is based on a review (link here) conducted by a consulting firm called Solchaga Recio & Associates (SR). In this 2-pager research note we respond to Telefonica's criticism. The note also includes the copy of our first reactions posted under the Telefonica blog post.
.

The competition effect – In Sweden, a 4 operator market, 4G smartphone volume caps doubled (for same prices)
2015
Sweden
Hutchison
Tele2
Telenor
TeliaSonera

April 2015
Northern Europeans get 50 times more gigabyte allowance on mass affordable tariff plans than consumers in non-competitive EU member states such as Greece

The 4 to 3 consolidation effect – Hutchison Three UK increases prices, again!
2015
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Telefonica
merger

April 2015
Three UK has now more than doubled the price of its flagship SIM-only smartphone plan. Hutchison appears confident that price increases will not deter the European Commission from approving its planned acquisition of o2 in the UK with an ineffective upfront ‘throughput≠capacity’ based MVNO remedy.

The dubious consolidation economics of Frontier Economics
2015
Austria
Hutchison
merger

March 2015
In its report ‘Assessing the case for in-country mobile consolidation’, prepared for the GSMA, Frontier Economics claimed “...that there is no evidence that prices increased following the merger” in Austria. According to Frontier’s dubious methodology unit prices fall even when consumers are asked to pay more Euros every month to purchase the same amount of goods. The fact is that before the merger, in December 2012, Austrian consumers paid €11 to purchase a smartphone plan with at least 1,000 minutes/SMS and 2 gigabytes. By February 2015 the price has doubled to €22.


New European competition commissioner, new approach to telecoms consolidation?
2015
Germany
Austria
Italy
United Kingdom
Hutchison
Telefonica
KPN
Vimpelcom
WindItaly

[External article, Telecom TV]
March 2015
As competition commissioner, Vestager says that her job is to ensure that European citizens or businesses can enjoy relatively innovative markets at affordable prices.

In 4 to 3 consolidated markets average mobile internet access prices rose by up to 56%
2015
Germany
Austria
Hutchison
Telefonica
KPN
DeutscheTelekom

March 2015
In 4 to 3 consolidated markets and in a market where consolidation is on the making the average price of the 5 gigabyte mobile internet access basket rose by up to 56% while the lowest available price rose by up to 68%. In markets that went from 3 to 4 operators and in a 4-player market where consolidation was blocked the average price of the 5 gigabyte mobile internet access basket fell by up to 37% while the lowest available price fell by up to 40%.

EU vs US Perspectives on Net Neutrality
2015
zero-raring
UnitedStates

[Open Forum Europe round table discussion in the European Parliament]
March 2015
Downlad Rewheel's presentation » here

Drillisch, the MVNO that helped clear Telefonica’s acquisition of E-Plus in Germany raised mobile internet gigabyte prices by 138%
2015
Germany
Telefonica
KPN

February 2015
Meanwhile Telefonica, post merger, also raised mobile internet smartphone plan prices by double digit percentage.

The real threat to the open Internet is zero-rated content
2015
zero-rating

[External guest blog, World Wide Web Foundation]
February 2015
In this two-part guest blog for the World Wide Web Foundation, Antonios Drossos of Rewheel discusses the potential threats of price discrimination. Download as PDF: » here

In the Netherlands, where zero-rating is banned, KPN just doubled (free of charge) the mobile internet volume caps to encourage a carefree usage of its online videos
2015
Netherlands
zero-rating
KPN

February 2015
This is the first empirical evidence of the pro-competitive benefits of real net neutrality rules that ban price discrimination (zero-rating) – it leads to lower internet usage prices and higher volume caps!

The Biggest Hole in the FCC's New Internet Rules
2015
United States
zero-rating

[External article, Bloomberg]
February 2015
Zero-rating won't be blocked by the FCC's Open Internet proposals—and it could a major challenge to net neutrality. Rewheel quoted.

Telenor launched a vertically price discriminated internet video service in a European market
2015
Telenor
Hungary
zero-rating

February 2015
Unlike all other vertically price discriminated telco mobile TV and film store video services Telenor’s service is not zero-rated but the price is massively discounted. Telenor charges 10 times less per Gigabyte when consumers watch its own internet video service over its mobile network compared to the price it charges consumers for open mobile internet access!

36 leading US scholars, in a letter addressed to the FCC, have called for the ban of paid prioritisation, including zero-rating
2015
United States
zero-rating

January 2015
This is the first letter by leading scholars that unequivocally supports a bright-line ban on all forms of paid prioritization (including zero-rating).


The Dutch regulator has fined Vodafone for violating national net neutrality law by zero-rating HBO mobile video streaming
2015
Netherlands
zero-rating
Vodafone

January 2015
On the 27th January 2015 ACM, The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has fined Vodafone for violating the Dutch net neutrality law.

Slovenian telecom regulator orders mobile operators to stop zero-rating
2015
Slovenia
zero-rating
TelekomSlovenije
TelekomAustria

January 2015
Slovenian regulator has found that zero-rating internet apps is violating the non-discrimination clause of the Slovenian national net neutrality law.

Price discrimination (zero-rating), if allowed, will erect a new insurmountable barrier to EU’s Digital Single Market
2015
zero-rating

January 2015
The suggestion by the Presidency of the EU Council to omit from the scope of net neutrality regulation the potentially anti-competitive practice of price discrimination (e.g. zero-rating) and allow instead Member State legislative discretion will balkanise internet access and prevent the creation of a European Digital Single Market.

New Republican Bill Is Network Neutrality in Name Only
2015
United States
zero-rating

[External article, Stanford Law Review, by Barbara van Schewick & Morgan N. Weiland]
January 2015
On closer examination, the bill is so narrowly written that it fails to adequately protect users, innovators, and speakers against blocking, discrimination, and access fees. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor research.

The net neutrality study prepared by J. Scott Marcus for the European Parliament conveniently missed the elephant in the room – Price discrimination (zero-rating)
2015
zero-rating

January 2015
Although the author referred to its work as “analytical” the study made no reference whatsoever to the most important and wide spread economic net neutrality violation – application based price discrimination such as zero-rating.

The splinternet
2015
zero-rating

[External article, The Economist GE Look ahead]
January 2015
Net neutrality and why it matters (or not) for the digital economy. Based on Rewheel quotes and Digital Fuel Monitor analysis.

The European Commission unlawfully approved Hutchison’s acquisition of Orange in Austria by knowingly accepting ‘ineffective' commitments
2015
Austria
Hutchison
Orange
merger

January 2015
The Commission was well aware at the time it approved the Austrian merger (December 2012) that Hutchison’s Final Commitments (MVNO wholesale access) could not remove the competition concerns entirely.

Mobile consolidation on Denmark’s doorstep
2014
Denmark
Telenor
TeliaCompany
merger

December 2014
Will consolidation lead to higher consumer prices for mobile internet access in Denmark as it did in the Austrian and German markets?

UPC Austria finally launches as an MVNO on Hutchison’s network
2014
Austria
Hutchison
Orange
merger
Libertyglobal

December 2014
Two years after the merger of Hutchison and Orange the European Commission’s presumed “effective” MVNO remedy is finally implemented – and as we predicted it is proven toothless

Germany Emerges as Net Neutrality Antagonist
2014
Germany
zero-rating

[External article, The Wall Street Journal]
December 2014
Germany, which is spearheading Europe’s fight against U.S. tech giants on everything from data privacy to Google ’s search engine monopoly, is hoping to scupper net neutrality too. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor analysis.

How much do EU consumers pay to use a Gigabyte of mobile internet on their smartphone while roaming in EU28?
2014
roaming
pricing

December 2014
Analysis of smartphone mobile internet access roaming prices in EU28 in Q4 2014

Net neutrality is about the price of open internet access, more and more EU governments realize
2014
zero-rating
Netherlands
Poland
Slovenia
Hungary
Greece
Slovakia
Luxembourg
Austria
Bulgaria
Irelands
Estonia

December 2014
On the 27th November 2014, last Thursday, on the European Council the representatives of the 28 EU Member States discussed, among other topics, the proposed Europe-wide regulation of net neutrality. The Dutch representative stressed that the regulation should explicitly ban vertical price discrimination of specific internet services, content and applications. Slovenia, Hungary and several other Member States have endorsed the Dutch proposal and asked for the explicit ban of price discrimination in the context of the net neutrality regulation.

Google, telcos and the push for a vertically integrated non-neutral internet – Friends, not foes
2014
zero-rating
Google
pricing

November 2014
Vertical integration of internet access with telcos’ specialized services (e.g. telco TV) and vertical integration of dominant search engines with internet search specialized services (e.g. Google Flights) are both severely restricting consumer choice, foreclose competition and harm the open internet

Pro-net neutrality Norway advises carriers to avoid zero-rating
2014
Norway
zero-rating

[External article, GigaOM]
November 2014
Is zero-rating a net neutrality violation? Chilean regulators think the practice – where phone carriers offer certain web services for free, but not others – does violate the principle, and have banned the practice in that country. The European Union’s former digital chief thinks it doesn’t, arguing it’s a competition issue if anything. And now Norway’s regulators have offered their opinion, siding with their counterparts in Chile.

Flash note: Norwegian telecom regulator unambiguously states that zero-rating violates net neutrality
2014
Norway
zero-rating

November 2014
20th November 2014: this week we saw two notable net neutrality developments in Europe.

Competition, not consolidation, is the way forward
2014
release
pricing

[External article, Telecom TV]
November 2014
Rewheel, the ‘pro-competitive’ Finnish analyst house, has completed its mobile internet access competitiveness report, Q4 2014 and released some of the key numbers.

EU28 & OECD mobile internet access competitiveness report Q4 2014 (DFMonitor 2nd Release)
2014
release
pricing

November 2014
Major price movements on both sides of the Atlantic between Q1 and Q4 2014. Smartphone internet usage price rankings, price changes and internet access speeds EU28, OECD, 41 countries, 69 operator groups, 136 operators, 40 operator discount brands and 84 MVNOs.

Is zero rating a net neutrality issue? Europe’s outgoing digital chief doesn’t think so
2014
zero-rating
Kroes

[External article, GigaOM]
October 2014
While many see zero rating as a net neutrality matter, Ansip’s predecessor, Neelie Kroes, has avoided giving any public opinions on the subject. However, that’s not to say Kroes has no opinion on the matter. Indeed, she appears to think zero rating isn’t a net neutrality issue at all.

Neelie Kroes's Specialized Services are a giant Net Neutrality loophole
2014
zero-rating

October 2014
Telco ‘access’ Specialized Services are no different from Google’s anticompetitive ‘search’ Specialized Services


Zero-rated, non-neutral mobile business model sets up shop in Hungary
2014
DeutscheTelekom
Hungary
zero-rating

[External article, Telecom TV]
October 2014
Thus far, according to Finnish pro-competitive consultancy Rewheel, it’s noted over 100 abuses across Europe, with T-Mobile Hungary the worst offender. So Rewheel has written a paper outlining the telco’s strategy and why the approach is deeply non-neutral.

Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile launches an ‘a la carte’ mobile internet model in Hungary
2014
DeutscheTelekom
Hungary
zero-rating

October 2014
In this public research note we present the latest net neutrality violations in Hungary, examine the adverse structural impacts that such ‘a la carte’ models pose to mobile internet access and conclude by highlighting the need for erecting a ‘Chinese spectrum wall’ between internet access over licensed mobile spectrum and discriminatory proprietary telco services (‘Specialized Services’).

US and EU legislators question zero-rating
2014
United States
zero-rating

September 2014
FCC refocuses the US net neutrality debate on zero-rating over wireless networks while in Europe national telecom regulators and the European Parliament are taking a closer look.

German telecom regulator: Zero-rating (volume discrimination) violates net neutrality
2014
Germany
zero-rating

September 2014
Zero-rated content or apps are applications or services that allow the end-user to consume unlimited Gigabyte volume of selected content without depleting their inclusive open mobile internet volume allowance (source: Wikipedia)

The consolidated Austrian mobile market in Q3 2014
2014
Austria
Hutchison
TelekomAustria
DeutscheTelekom

September 2014
The price of mobile internet in Austria, following the 2013 hike, surged again in Q3 2014. A profound structural change is in the making in the Austrian mobile data access market.

Hutchison Three – No longer a challenger?
2014
Austria
Hutchison
TelekomAustria
DeutscheTelekom

September 2014
The price of mobile internet went up notably in the UK during the 2H of 2014. The price of mobile internet also went up notably in Austria after the 4 to 3 mobile operator merger. The Austrian competition authority has already opened an investigation.

Reducing Wireless Competition in Europe
2014
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, The New York Times]
July 2014
A recent decision by European regulators to approve the merger of two cellphone companies in Germany will significantly reduce competition and encourage further consolidation in the industry. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor research.

Smartphone internet usage price ranking of EU28 & OECD mobile network operators - Q1 2014 (DFMonitor 1st Release)
release

June 2014
This is the first release of the Digital Fuel Monitor rankings of all EU28 and OECD mobile network operators by the gigabyte price they charge for using internet on smartphones.

Ireland's mobile merger conditions inadequate and illegal say critics
2014
Ireland
Hutchison
Telefonica

[External article, Telecom TV]
June 2014
On the face of it, the recent decision by the European Competition Commission to flag through the merger of Hutchison 3 and O2 in Ireland should be straight-forward. Ireland consolidates its operators from four down to three, in return the Commission demands that the competition deficit is made up for by two new MVNOs and a possible exchange of spectrum up the track should they want to become full operators. Job done? Not Exactly.


A government ruled for net neutrality. Too bad it wasn't your government
2014
United States
zero-rating

[External article, The Guardian]
June 2014
In America and Europe, the internet is going mobile out of convenience. In the developing world, mobile is the internet. Here's what happens when companies take advantage of that. Citing Digital Fuel Monitor.

Still not convinced that some EU telcos are trying to foreclose the mobile cloud storage market?
2014
zero-rating

June 2014
In this insight we take a closer look at telcos’ own zero-rated mobile cloud storage apps in Europe. What makes the mobile cloud storage market interesting from antitrust point of view is the fact that it is a well established, growing market with billions of Euros in annual revenues. A number of big internet companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and a plethora of start-ups such as Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Mozy, CloudMe, justcloud, Carbonite, livedrive, Tresorit, Hightail, TeamDrive, Infinit, etc. are fighting for consumer attention in a competitive open market.

However, the mobile cloud storage market in Europe is just about to stop being open and competitive.

A critical look into the uncertain future of open mobile internet access in Europe
2014
zero-rating
roaming
Finland

May 2014
This report has been commissioned by Viestintävirasto, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.

Telefonica’s Mickey Mouse commitments are irrelevant and ineffective
2014
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

May 2014
Will Almunia succumb to Merkel’s pressure and clear Telefonica/E-Plus merger with toothless Austrian like remedies (leased 2600MHz spectrum, WiFi, MVNOs) or stand firm, enforce the law and prohibit the merger?


List of potentially anti-competitive zero-rated apps launched by EU’s incumbent telcos
2014
zero-rating

April 2014
On Gigaom: Forget fast lanes. The real threat for net-neutrality is zero-rated content

Incumbent European telcos are favouring their own or their OTT partners’ messaging, communication, music streaming, video streaming, mobileTV, cloud storage applications by zero-rating the generated volume i.e. volume generated by these applications does not deplete the end-user’s open internet gigabyte volume allowance. Zero-rating is essentially potentially blunt anti-competitive price discrimination. It favours telcos’ own, or their partners', applications and services thereby placing those offered by other competitors at a competitive disadvantage. In markets where big telcos face no challengers, such as Germany, and where the gigabyte prices for open mobile internet access are prohibitively expensive, price discrimination in favour of telcos’ own applications could be a game changer.

Why do some telcos charge over twenty times more for gigabytes on smartphones than on data-only plans?
2014
pricing

April 2014
One possible reason could be to make their own zero-rated traffic heavy smartphone apps more appealing to the end consumers. We compared the pricing of incremental gigabytes of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Orange and Hutchison across their EU & OECD footprints.

US vs EU & OECD: prices, network performance, consumption, penetration
2014
United States
pricing

April 2014
In this flash insight we benchmarked key mobile internet connectivity competitiveness metrics in the United States against EU Member States and other OECD countries. In addition we show Deutsche Telekom (T-mobile) prices and network performance (measured by OpenSignal) in US vs different EU Member States.

Telcos are killing net-neutrality with overly restrictive Gigabyte quotas, anyway
2014
zero-rating
spectrum

March 2014
How much of its 4G and 5G radio spectrum capacities Europe should keep for open mobile internet access? How much for telcos' and their business partners' 'walled garden' video, cloud and m-health services (i.e. 'specialised services')

In those EU markets where competition between telecom operators can be best described as friendly net-neutrality is already on protracted coma – and the planned no-blocking & throttling rules of Neelie Kroes’s Connected Continent package will be no panacea. In protected telecom oligopolies (where no challenger mobile operator is present) all parallel fixed-line and mobile infrastructures and radio spectrum have already been or soon are to be consolidated in the hands of few friendly voice-era incumbent telecom groups with vested interests in protecting valuation of their fixed-line assets. In these markets telcos have already started to collectively restrict the maximum volume of open-internet on affordable smartphone tariff plans to just few Gigabytes. In contrast, in genuinely competitive markets, such as the UK, Finland and Austria, consumers could choose affordable (€15-€30) smartphone tariff plans that include very large (>10GB) or unlimited Gigabyte volume allowance.

Spectrum use in Finland and the UK versus Germany
2014
Finland
United Kingdom
Germany
spectrum
networkeconomics

March 2014
According to data reported by the national regulatory authorities and presented in the first release (1H2014) of the DFMonitor the average monthly mobile data consumption per capita varies greatly across EU28. In 2012 the Finnish consumed on average 1.49 Gigabyte every month while the British 0.38 Gigabyte. The Germans on the other hand consumed a dismal 0.15 Gigabyte every month. Why do consumers in competitive markets (where a challenger operator is present) consume up to 10 times more mobile data than consumers in protected markets such as Germany? Are Germans less eager users of the internet?

Competitive mobile markets bolster take up, says study
2014
release
pricing
Iliad
United Kingdom
Finland
Austria
Germany
Ireland
United States
Vodafone
Orange
Telefonica
DeutscheTelekom
Iliad
Tele2
Hutchison

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
March 2014
Rewheel is launching a tracker of prices, performance, spectrum use, consumption and adoption across Europe, which includes 1,404 smartphone and data-only tariff plans offered in 43 countries from 145 operators.

Price level drives mobile connectivity adoption and use
2014
pricing

March 2014
The high, in many cases unaffordable, Gigabyte prices commanded by operators in protected markets where challengers are not present are effectively suppressing mobile broadband penetration and most importantly mobile data consumption.

EU regulators open lengthy probe into Telefonica, KPN deal
2013
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, Reuters]
December 2013
EU antitrust regulators opened an in-depth probe into Telefonica's proposed 8.6 billion euro ($11.9 billion) takeover of KPN's German unit, saying the deal may reduce competition in the German mobile market.

Competition in France & UK versus Germany
2013
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Iliad
BouyguesTelecom
Orange
SFR
KPN
Telefonica
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom

December 2013
Inefficient operators that cannot make a healthy return on €20 mass market 10 GByte all-you-can-eat minute & SMS smartphone tariffs will soon become telco road kills in Europe’s competitive markets.

Mobile network operator consolidation in Germany
2013
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger
spectrum

November 2013
Telefonica’s acquisition of E-Plus, if approved, will turn Germany into a fiercely competitive market.

Rewheel's input to public consultation of the European Parliament
2013
zero-rating
spectrum
networkeconomics

November 2013
On the 4th of November 2013 Rewheel has submitted its contributions to the public stakeholder consultation launched by the ITRE Committee of the European Parliament on the European Commission's proposal on a telecoms regulation titled 'Connected Continent'.

Pre-Christmas price hike in the Greek protected oligopoly
2013
Greece
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom
WindHellas

October 2013
While in EU’s competitive mobile markets consumer prices are falling and gigabyte allowances are increasing, in protected oligopolies, such as Greece, operator pricing practices are defying economic logic. Between October and December 2013, so just ahead of the most important pre-Christmas sales season, all three Greek mobile operators have simultaneously hiked the prices of their mass market post-paid smartphone tariffs.

Debunking false claims of ETNO: EU is NOT falling behind in 4G
2013
United States
pricing
Kroes

October 2013
Contrary to GSMA's and ETNO's unsubstantiated claims echoed by Vice President Neelie Kroes Commissioner for EU's Digital Agenda, European 3G/4G consumers pay 5x less and use more mobile data at faster connections speeds than US consumers.

Smartphone tariffs with unlimited minute & SMS in EU28-US-CH-NO
2013
pricing

October 2013
Mobile internet access represents the fuel of the digital economies, the price of gigabytes is analogue to the price of energy (€/kWh) for traditional industries. Proliferation of all you can eat voice & SMS tariffs exposes non-competitive mobile internet pricing practices.

Austrian telecoms auction squeezes smallest player
2013
Austria
Hutchison
TelekomAustria
mobile-first
spectrum

[External article, Reuters]
October 2013
Telekom Austria paid a high price for new spectrum in a fourth-generation telecoms auction that may pay off if it reduces a competitive threat from smaller rival Hutchison Whampoa's H3G. Rewheel quotes inside.

Mobilfunkfusion treibt Preise in Österreich
2013
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, Handelsblatt, in German]
September 2013
In einer Studie für europäische und nationale Kartellwächter warnt die finnische Beratungsfirma Rewheel vor einer Fusion der deutschen Mobilfunker O2 und E-Plus, sollte es keine strengen Auflagen geben. Die Spezialisten für den Mobilfunkmarkt verweisen darauf, dass in Österreich sieben Monate nach einer genehmigten Fusion der Anbieter Hutchison 3G Austria („3“) die Preise für Smartphone-Tarife im Durchschnitt um sechzig Prozent erhöht habe.

Post-consolidation price hike in Austria
2013
Austria
Hutchison
Orange
merger

September 2013
In this flash report we follow up on our EU27 mobile data cost competitiveness report May 2013 by reflecting on three recent market developments: consolidation in Austria (prices went up by over 60% on average), the planned acquisition of KPN E-Plus in Germany and EU's single telecom market regulation.

EU antitrust watchdog put to test with Vodafone, Hutchison deals
2013
Vodafone
Hutchison
Telefonica
Germany
Irelands
merger

[External article, Reuters]
June 2013
European regulators will soon weigh in on two telecom acquisitions worth about 11.5 billion euros, in key test cases for a sector that executives believe needs consolidation to counter falling sales and boost network investments.Rewheel quotes inside.

European smartphone users face huge price disparities -study
2013
Vodafone
Telefonica
pricing

[External article, Reuters]
May 2013
Smartphone users in European countries served only by large groups such as Vodafone Group Plc and Telefonica SA pay twice as much for services as consumers in more competitive markets with an independent "challenger" operator, according to research. Citing Rewheel research.

EU27 mobile data cost competitiveness report - May 2013 (Rewheel's second extensive EU-wide mobile data cap and pricing analysis)
2013
release
pricing
spectrum
Germany

May 2013
EU’s single telecom market is threatened by the lack of mobile network infrastructure based competition within the national borders of half of EU’s member states and from the noticeable absence of pan-European retail operators offering borderless European tariffs.

Phone Mergers Can’t Mean Higher Price, Less Competition, EU Says
2013
Germany
Telefonica
KPN
merger

[External article, Bloomberg]
February 2013
European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said companies’ expansion can’t come at the expense of customers or competition, in a response to a call by telecommunications operators for looser merger reviews. Users pay as much as ten times more to use their smartphones in countries where the biggest European operators have no local competitors, Almunia said, citing [Rewheel] research.

Austrian takeover is a touchstone for telecoms dealmakers
2013
Austria
Hutchison
Orange
Iliad
merger

[External article, The Financial Times, subscription required]
February 2013
Once the merger was crowned and three operators were left standing, it took a matter of days for something rare and unusual to jolt Austria’s cut-throat mobile phone business: prices started to rise. “We warned that prices would rise,” says Theodor Thanner, Austria’s competition regulator who questioned the EU approving Hutchison’s takeover of Orange last year. “Our forecast has been fulfilled”. Citing Rewheel research.

Lack of competition inflates EU smartphone costs
2013
Iliad
Tele2
Hutchison
Vodafone
DeutscheTelekom
Orange
Telefonica
Greece
United States
Spain
Germany
Finland
Denmark
United Kingdom
release

[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.

EU27 smartphone tariff competitiveness report - December 2012 (Rewheel's first extensive EU-wide mobile data cap and pricing analysis)
2013
release
pricing

January 2013
Smartphones represent the vehicles and their tariff plans the fuel of the digitial economy. Our research reveals alarming differences in the absolute price level and affordability of smartphone tariffs across the EU27 member states. Moreover, our analysis shows that in the affected member states high prices are already suppressing mobile internet adoption. The impacts of E5 Group presence are also addressed.

Analysis: Dutch mobile market faces French-style price war
2012
Netherlands
Tele2
KPN
spectrum

[External article, Reuters]
September 2012
The Netherlands could be heading for a mobile phone price war similar to the one that has ravaged industry profits in France, with an auction of wireless licenses next month likely to ramp up competition to market leader KPN (KPN.AS) and its rivals. Quoting Rewheel.

To offload or not to offload? The existential dilemma of mobile operators
2011
wifi

February 2011
Public WiFi networks are popping up like mushrooms in crowded spots where always connected geeks seek shelter for a frappuccino and a facebook update. This should be good news for mobile operators desperate from capacity shortfalls: they can now offload part of their data traffic to less expensive wholesale WiFi bit pipes – or they can even catch a free ride. So should mobile operators embrace the symbiosis and integrate externally cultivated WiFi hotpots in their business models?

E-Plus Germany mobile data impact analysis — showing way forward for challenger operators?
2010
Germany
KPN
spectrum
mobile-first
networkeconomics

November 2010
Up until late 2009 E-Plus had been following a low cost challenger strategy primarily targeting customers with no or very light mobile data needs. But late 2009, when it became apparent that fast mobile data is not a niche offering any longer but is becoming an essential need of the mass consumer base in Germany and in other developed telecoms markets, they swiftly declared a new, “voice+data” strategy.

Mobile telecom margins safe in data surge - study
2010
spectrum
mobile-first
networkeconomics

[External article, Reuters]
September 2010
New technology and falling equipment prices will sustain profit margins at mobile telecom operators even if data traffic over their networks grows twentyfold, a [Rewheel] study said.

2010
spectrum
mobile-first
networkeconomics

September 2010
Market saturation, eroding voice ARPU and climbing data capacity upgrade costs are threatening the sustainability of mobile operators’ historically high profitability. We show that by taking timely actions on both the retail and network cost fronts smart operators can sustain their profitability while redefining their business to serve the increasingly data centric life style of their customers.

2010
Germany
Finland
spectrum
networkeconomics

August 2010
There is a common opinion in the industry that 3G/HSPA mobile data networks are congested because operators are running out of their spectrum resources. Considering the traffic demand, likely traffic geo-distribution, daily profile and the constrains of HSPA and LTE technology our models show that in typical mature mobile telecommunications markets spectrum scarcity alone does not cause a capacity crunch yet.

FACTBOX - What does the new LTE mobile technology offer?
2010
spectrum
networkeconomics

[External article, Reuters]
February 2010
Here are some facts on the new technology, which will also be one of the key topics at the world's largest wireless trade show, Mobile World Congress, next week in Barcelona. Based on Rewheel insights.

2010
spectrum
networkeconomics

February 2010
The budget of operators’ LTE investments is being squeezed by the challenging mobile data business case. In order to make economic sense, the cost of rolling out an LTE network cannot be more than a fraction of the money that has been spent on 3G rollouts. Moreover, the price of incremental capacity upgrades needs to be at least ten times lower than the typical price of adding comparable capacity to HSPA networks.

Fixed-to-mobile broadband substitution
Mobile data usage in Finland
Effectiveness of MVNO remedies
Tight oligopoly markets in EU28
EU's first 700 MHz spectrum auction
DFMonitor in the international media
Reducing Wireless Competition in Europe
The New York Times (editorial)


Contact us:

Tel: +358442032339
E-mail: contact@dfmonitor.eu
Twitter: @DFMonitor

Copyright © 2009-2017 Rewheel Oy. All rights reserved.