VIENNA Jan 7 Telekom Austria will
increase prices for its no-frills mobile brand Bob by up to 70
percent from March, it said on Tuesday, citing inflation and the
need to invest in its network.
Austria's biggest telecoms provider paid 1 billion euros
($1.4 billion) last month for new frequencies in an unexpectedly
expensive auction that led to a credit rating downgrade, raising
its borrowing costs.
The company, which in November declared its intention to
stabilise core profit in its home market this year, said that
the price rises will be on certain Bob tariffs that are no
longer offered to new customers.
Existing smartphone packages taken out by customers at 9.90
euros a month will rise to 11.90 euros, while a basic deal that
offered calls for 4 cents a minute and SMS messages for 4 cents
will rise to 6.8 cents per minute or text.
Austria, where Telekom Austria, T-Mobile Austria
and Hutchison Whampoa's 3 compete for business from a
population of 8.5 million, has some of the cheapest mobile
prices in Europe despite a consolidation that eliminated one
carrier a year ago.
Telekom Austria does not disclose subscriber numbers for Bob
but said in its 2012 annual report that the brand's had helped
to lift the group's Austrian mobile customer base by about 2.1
percent to 5.4 million.
($1 = 0.7330 euros)
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Goodman)