(Corrects throughout to show O2 Ireland also offering shared
STOCKHOLM, March 25 Swedish households will be
among the first in Europe to be offered an all-encompassing
package that pays for all access to phone, computer and tablet
use in one, the country's leading telecoms company TeliaSonera
said on Monday.
Telia is hoping to squeeze more revenue from an area where
telecom operators, facing a fall in income from traditional
voice calls, have struggled to make subscribers pay for the data
Watching videos, surfing the internet and social networking
on-the-go has become staple fare for phone users in the last
couple of years.
TeliaSonera said its new subscription plan in Sweden would
allow a family to buy a fixed amount of data every month to
cover up to seven smartphones, tablets and PCs with unlimited
voice calls and text messages thrown in.
"We are offering a new, sound, sustainable and long-term
business model that means we get paid for data and offer free
calls," said Ulrika Steg, the company's Head of Mobility
Services in Sweden.
The deal will cost 399 crowns ($61.53) a month for the main
subscription with 2GB of data, plus 149 crowns for each phone
and 29 crowns for each tablet, router or modem.
O2 in Ireland, owned by Spain's Telefonica, also
offers a shared data package for up to three devices.
Swedes were early adopters of smartphones and tablets and
Telia says two thirds of the country now has a smartphone and
one in five has a tablet computer.
Nevertheless, last year CEO Lars Nyberg - who has since left
the company - said he expected no revenue growth at all for the
industry until operators solved the puzzle of how to charge for
Steg said the new shared data plan would not have a
short-term impact on Telia's revenues.
"In the long-term, it will help us maintain our
revenue-generating capacity so we can continue to invest in our
network," she said.
Telia's move is among the first such in Europe, but shared
data plans are already accepted in the United States where
operators such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T have
had considerably more success in charging for data than their
Average mobile phone bills in Europe have fallen by 15
percent since 2007, even as they have risen by 25 percent in the
Operators like Vodafone and France Telecom
are also expected to pursue shared data plans, while others are
opting to charge users more to use superfast 4G networks.
($1 = 6.4844 Swedish crowns)
(Reporting by Simon Johnson; Editing by David Cowell)