Vodafone slashes Czech prices to match Telefonica offer

PRAGUE, April 12 Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:06am EDT

PRAGUE, April 12 (Reuters) - Vodafone slashed its calling rates in the Czech Republic on Friday, just a day after rival Telefonica Czech Republic cut its prices, in a market long criticised for lack of competition.

Vodafone said it was launching unlimited calls and text messages along with 600 megabytes of data for 691 crowns ($35.04) per month.

Telefonica offered unlimited call and text messages along with 1 gigabyte of data for 745 crowns on Thursday.

Analysts said the price cuts, to about half the previous comparable offers, were triggered by the prospect of a new competitor joining the market with the auction of new mobile frequencies planned for later this year.

The price cuts, which analysts expect to put significant pressure on margins, would make it more difficult for the new entrant to launch services and win customers easily, they said.

The country's third operator, T-Mobile said on Thursday it would also launch a similar offer in the coming days.