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May 1, 2015

UK mobile prices among cheapest in Western Europe

Survey of 16 countries also found that prices have decreased across the continent.

By Alexander Sword

The cost of mobile plans in Europe including a top smartphone has decreased in the first quarter of 2015, according to research from Telecompaper.

Possible effects of recent telecoms market consolidation were shown in a decrease in the number of plans available to 3200, a fall of around 18 percent year-on-year.

However, the survey of 16 countries found prices had decreased for both plans including a high-end handset and for SIM-only plans.

It was also revealed that the amount offered in bundles were increasing: 36 percent of SIM-only plans now provided over 1000 or unlimited minutes per month.

Data bundles were on the rise with 34 percent of SIM-only plans now providing more than 2GB of monthly data and 38 percent of plans providing less than 1GB of data per month.

The report found that the UK remained among the cheapest markets for mobile communications, with Scandinavia, Austria and France in a similar position. Greece and Portugal were the most expensive countries.

The UK has generally been a highly regulated telecoms market, which may have kept prices down; Charlotte Patrick, Research Director at Gartner commented that regulators have been "on the side of consumers". Ofcom recently proposed a cap on termination rates between different networks, which should lower costs for consumers.

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However, some consumers fear that increasing consolidation caused by Three owner Hutchinson Whampoa’s purchase of O2 might drive up prices.

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