Telefonica Spain scraps mobile contracts, eschews 4G premiums, sells unlocked mobile phones

Telefonica Spain scraps contracts, eschews 4G premiums, sells unlocked phones

12 SEP 2013

Telefonica’s Movistar is unleashing a radical series of pricing initiatives on Friday (13 September). They include the scrapping of 18-month post-paid contracts (except for those acquiring handsets using loyalty points); the expansion of voice and data limits on 4G without paying more than 3G prices (details still to be announced); and, starting over the next few days, the selling of unlocked mobile phones so customers can use their purchased devices on other networks.

A data-sharing tariff, allowing customers to access their data allowance from different devices, will be introduced by the end of the year

In addition, Movistar customers on tariff plans that have a large amount of minutes will soon receive unlimited voice traffic.

Under a campaign dubbed ‘Mas por lo mismo’ (more for the same price), Telefonica says the measures are a response to customer needs.

They come exactly a year after Telefonica Spain launched its quad-play Movistar Fusion service, which now has 2.5 million subscribers.

Originally combining fixed-line broadband and 3G, a Fusion 4G option (using either DSL or fibre for the broadband fixed line) now becomes available when LTE is launched commercially on Friday

Telefonica expects that its domestic 4G network, supplied by Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson, will cover nearly 50 per cent of Spain’s population by the end of the year.

Unlike many other operators in Europe, Movistar is eschewing 4G premiums.

In a news conference held Wednesday (11 September), reported by Reuters, Luis Miguel Gilperez – head of Telefonica’s Spanish division – said he expected to see more customers and revenues, marking the start of a turnaround in its weak home market where it has lost customers to rivals.

According to figures by CMT, the Spanish telecoms regulator, Movistar registered a net loss of 248,000 customers during March (and a staggering loss of 700,000 for the first three months of 2013).

By contrast, Spain’s MVNOs, with cheaper offers, logged a net customer gain of 210,000 during March.

“We aren’t on the path to growth yet but we are close to reversing the trend in clients and revenues,” said Gilperez, who expressed hope that the new tariffs would speed up the pace of net customer additions.

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Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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