Telekom Austria raises activation fees by 40 pct

VIENNA Mon Feb 3, 2014 4:26am EST

VIENNA Feb 3 (Reuters) - Telekom Austria raised the one-off fee it charges new mobile customers in Austria by 40 percent on Monday, the latest in a series of tariff increases following market consolidation.

The company, which has raised tariffs for its budget brands Bob and Yesss in the past months, said it would now charge an activation fee of 69.90 euros ($94.26), up from 49.90 euros.

A spokeswoman said the increase reflected the greater technical complexity of configuring phones for new fourth-generation services, and that it was the first increase in the activation fee for eight years.

Telekom Austria has stabilised its base of roughly 5.7 million mobile customers in its home market through a combination of heavily subsided premium smartphones and long-term contracts bundling several services.

Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter told journalists last week that churn, the rate at which customers cancel contracts, was just 0.55 percent per month.

Austria's smallest mobile operator, Hutchison Whampoa's Drei, bought bigger rival Orange a year ago, reducing the number of players from four to three - Telekom Austria, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile and Drei. ($1 = 0.7415 euros) (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, editing by Louise Heavens)

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