May 2017 (updated 22.05.2017)
The state of 4G pricing, mobile data usage, spectrum usage, network capacity utilization and fixed-to-mobile broadband substitution. After its comeback in 2016, in 2017 unlimited mobile data goes viral and spreads to 22 countries. And while in competitive markets such as France and Denmark consumers can buy 100 or unlimited gigabytes for less than €30, in tight mobile oligopoly markets such as Portugal, Greece and Hungary €30 hardly buys any gigabytes. Europe’s mobile data divide widens further: 200x more gigabytes for €30 in smartphone plans, 600x more gigabytes in mobile broadband plans, 200x difference in median gigabyte prices, 40x difference in mobile data usage per capita and spectrum usage.
[External article, The Economist GE Look ahead]
Net neutrality and why it matters (or not) for the digital economy. Based on Rewheel quotes and Digital Fuel Monitor analysis.
Germany Emerges as Net Neutrality Antagonist
[External article, The Wall Street Journal]
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.
Pro-net neutrality Norway advises carriers to avoid zero-rating
[External article, GigaOM]
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.
Still not convinced that some EU telcos are trying to foreclose the mobile cloud storage market?
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.
List of potentially anti-competitive zero-rated apps launched by EU’s incumbent telcos
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.
Telcos are killing net-neutrality with overly restrictive Gigabyte quotas, anyway
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.