Austria is walking down on an adventurous path after the EU has granted Three Austria to take over Orange Austria accroding to this report. From the once five networks in the country only three now remain and from my point of view there is a big questionmark whether three network operators will be enough to ensure healthy competition.
Countries such as France and Belgium who only had three network operators (Belgium still only has three) are far from being islands of good prices and competition in the EU. Let's hope, the terms and conditions of the takeover will prevent a similar fate. And those conditions are actually quite interesting because Three Austria now has to offer Mobile Virtual Network Operators access to its network at least for the following prices:
- Price per voice minute: 1 euro cent
- Price per SMS: 0.4 cent
- 1 Megabyte of data: 0.16 to 0.2 euro cent (up to 30 Mbit/s)
Alternatively, an MVNO can get 25% rebate on the tarrifs offered by Three itself.
0.2 euro cents per megabyte, that's 2 euros per Gigabyte of data traffic. Interesting, I pay 10 euros for 180 MB of data in France on a prepaid SIM. Hm, that's around 25 times more...
So while those prices are certainly very cheap I wonder how these prices will look like 5 years from now and how competitive the networks will be then!? After all, it's now only a competition between three physical networks no matter how many MVNO's will use Three's physical network.