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774% difference

Major differences in Euroepan mobile call pricing


These price differences cannot be explained by differences in quality, differences in the cost to provide the service, or by differences between countries in consumer purchasing power.

The price of domestic voice calls varies between member states.The difference between the most expensive market, the Netherlands, and the cheapest, Lithuania, is more than sevenfold.

There are much smaller price differentials in other categories of basic goods and services in the European single market. For example a litre of milk can be bought for between €0.69 and €0.99 wherever they are in the EU, a price difference of 43%. An occasional purchase like an iPad is subject to only an 11% price difference across the EU.

Europe’s largest markets are closer to the mid-point, with France’s average price at €0.127 coming in higher than the UK (€0.097) and Germany (€0.088).

Interestingly, Spain, whose mobile market has suffered like its wider economy, still has an average call cost of €0.133, which is nearer the top end of the of the scale.

Other categories of goods and services across the EU have a lower price differential than mobile calls, argues the EC.

There are also major differences in international mobile call pricing, says the report, for instance between Vodafone in the UK (€1.19 per minute) and the €0.35 per minute charged by Telenor, Orange and TIM in Hungary, France and Italy, respectively.

Neelie Kroes, EC vice president, views the figures as backing her argument that the EU is not benefiting from a single market in telecoms, which is a key part of the reforms she wants to see implemented.

Of interest