Vodafone Germany has announced how they’re going to price their upcoming LTE service, due to launch later this month according to LTE World. For 40 EUR per month consumers will get capped at a maximum download speed of 7.2 Mbps and the ability to download 10 GB of data. An additional 10 EUR gives customers a download speed of 21.6 Mbps and 15 GB of data. And finally the highest end tier gives consumers 30 GB of data at a maximum 50 Mbps for 60 EUR per month. Vodafone’s network will cover 1,000 municipalities by the end of this year, 500 more by March 2011, and by the end of 2011 all of Germany should have LTE coverage. Note how this pricing model differs from TeliaSonera’s, who offers LTE service in Sweden for 599 SEK (65 EUR) per month, giving users an uncapped download/upload speed, but only 30 GB of data.
Business models may be boring to you, but I find them absolutely fascinating. How operators charge for their services in one country may differ radically with neighboring lands, and customer acquisition and retention is the name of the game here in Europe where many nations have over 100% penetration, that is more than 1 SIM card per person. America’s operators are slowly moving away from unlimited data plans and instead charging for the amount of data transfered with AT&T being the first to make the move. Verizon is expected to price their LTE service at a premium when the service launches later this year.
In Finland, the country I call home, my wireless operator, Saunalahti, offers pricing options based on speed. The pricing tiers have recently changed as well, and as of today these are the options: unlimited data at a maximum download rate of 384 Kbps for 4.90 EUR/month, unlimited data at 1 megabit per second for 9.90 EUR/month or unlimited data, no speed caps, for 13.90 EUR/month.
Sadly though, American operators still compete on who has the best network coverage. The country is large enough that it’s a valid way of differentianitaing yourself, but I can’t help but feel sorry for my colleagues across the pond who have to deal with dropped calls, dead zones, and obscure charges.