Three Network Operators Are Not Enough

In most countries in Europe, there are four mobile networks for customers to choose from. To me from a consumer point of view it seems to be the "lucky" number as in countries with fewer network operators, real competition often doesn't get a chance and network quality and prices are not where they are in other countries.

A case in point is France, where until last year there were only three network operators served the market with pretty much the same prices. Not a lot of competition as could have been clearly seen in the prepaid market which was one of the most unattractive ones in Europe, with validity dates of only 1-3 months for top-ups. 

A lot has happened in the 12 months since Free has started, however, and prices have come down quite considerably to a more "European" average level. Lots of complaints could have been heard in the time since, including parliamentary hearings, etc. And it seems feelings are still running high, according to the following quote from Stephane Roussel, SFR's CEO:

'The number of mobile operators in France is clearly excessive,
unreasonable in my opinion.’

I find the words "excessive" and "unreasonable" quite interesting. So the situation in a lot of other countries, in which the four network operator system works quite well is clearly excessive and unreasonable? Further, in his opinion, to quote the article linked to above, three network operators would be ideal. Hm, for the network operators or for the customers?

One thought on “Three Network Operators Are Not Enough”

  1. Agree, three is not enough. UK had five; competition was good and prices came down. Belgium has three, service is poor and prices are high (particularly for unsubsidised handsets). And yet mobile is booming in Belgium despite this. I figure that people pay because they have no other choice and they can. Me, I live in Belgium, but choose to have a UK account. I’m almost permanently roaming, but because of reduced EU roaming rates and some well chosen account add-ons (free incoming calls in Europe, unlimited blackberry roaming) I prefer it that way. I long for a pan-European operator that can offer competitive rates across Europe.

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