(Bloomberg) Europeís wireless carriers are falling behind their U.S. rivals in efforts to boost tariffs as they introduce faster service, with price cuts in France and Britain indicating phone bills will shrink further.
EE, the U.K. mobile-phone company owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) and France Telecom SA (FTE), last month reduced rates for its fastest fourth-generation services, and Vivendi SA (VIV)ís SFR unit slashed prices in France by as much as 25 percent on packages built around quicker data transfers. In Germany, the first major western European market with 4G, Vodafone Group Plc (VOD) has cut the cost of its most expensive plans.
The discounts, announced just a few months after EE and SFR began offering 4G, suggest that carriers may be giving up on a bet that European consumers will pay more for faster downloads of music, YouTube videos, and other data-heavy content.
After years of sliding prices for wireless packages, executives including the chiefs of France Telecom and Vodafone have said they hoped 4G premiums would push customer bills up to levels comparable to the U.S. But heavy regulation in the region and stiff competition have made that goal more difficult to achieve, said Maynard. ..................(more)