In the first quarter of 2022, there were over 7 million bundles that combine telephony, broadband and/or television services. Among those consumers that opt for bundles, more consumers than a year ago say that discounts are the primary reason for choosing a bundle. These are some of the findings of the Telecom Monitor for Q1 2022 and the annual consumer survey into the telecom market, both of which have been published today by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM).
The most popular bundle is a combination of mobile and fixed services. There were 3.2 million of such bundles in the first quarter. Consumers cite bundle discounts and free additional data as the most important reasons for choosing a bundle. However, bundles may pose a barrier to switching: 40 percent of consumers indicate not wanting to switch providers because they do not want to lose their bundle discounts. “Consumers are better off if they are able to benefit from the advantages that bundles offer, but it would be a shame if that resulted in less competition as consumers are less likely to switch”, says Edwin van Houten, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department.
Higher bills because of mobile broadband
While the volumes of voice minutes and text messages over the past two years have hovered near 2020 levels, mobile-data consumption has been going up for several years now. In the first quarter, it went up 5 percent to 350 million gigabyte. People may not always be aware of the fact that they are consuming more mobile data. Over the past 12 months, one in four consumers received a bill that is higher than their regular monthly payments, and for 10 percent of that group, their bills were unexpectedly high. Although such high bills have become less frequent, the additional costs are usually higher than in previous years. On ACM ConsuWijzer’s website, consumers can find tips on how to avoid higher bills.
More mobile plans
In the first quarter, the number of mobile plans increased by 486,000 to a total of 23.9 million. Over the past 12 months, one in four consumers has taken out a new mobile plan. Consumers pay, on average, 16.80 euros per month. Most are satisfied with their contracts, and a majority is also satisfied with prices. Six in ten consumers find the information about prices and conditions of mobile plans easy-to-understand. However, 48 percent of consumers do have trouble comparing prices of different operators properly. That percentage went up again after it had been going down for several years.
Consumers see broadband as expensive
According to the Telecom Monitor, 54.1 percent of Dutch households have broadband connections with download speeds of over 100 Mbps. That is high in comparison with other European countries. In the first quarter, there were 2.3 million copper broadband plans, and 3.45 million cable broadband plans. In the meantime, the roll-out of fiber-optic is steadily progressing: the number of households in areas where fiber-optic has already been rolled out has risen by 170,000 to over 4.71 million. Of those households, 2 million actually have fiber-optic broadband plans, which is 147,000 more than in the previous quarter.
Consumers are generally satisfied with their internet provider. However, 42 percent do find broadband prices to be very high. Yet, many stay with their current providers, as only 10 percent switched providers last year. Price is cited as the most important reason for switching.
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