2010 European Mobile Operators

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 14 Apr 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 225

Publication Overview

This report covers developments among Europe’s mobile network operators, assessing their strengths and strategies in a market characterised by increasing competition from MVNOs and resellers.


The countries covered in this report include: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYROM), Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom.


Researcher:- Henry Lancaster, Paul Kwon
Current publication date:- April 2010 (6th Edition)
Next publication date:- April 2011

Executive Summary

Most of Europe’s mobile markets are saturated, with only France in early 2010 having mobile penetration below 100%. Continuing growth has largely shifted to the 3G sector - stimulated by emerging technologies such HSPA and LTE - as subscribers migrate from GSM networks. Average mobile (SIM card) penetration across Europe reached about 125% by early 2010 while still sustaining subscriber growth of between 5% and 8%, though some of the more saturated markets have lower growth of only 2-3%.

Operators had hoped that the introduction of 3G would increase ARPU but this has not yet been the case. It is likely that overall data ARPU will fall for the next two to three years at least - the increase in data ARPU for some operators will be insufficient to counteract the effect of falling voice revenues. Growth in the overall market will stagnate through to 2011 as operators reduce prices in the face of competition from MVNOs and resellers, as continuing regulatory measures reduce roaming and interconnection revenue.

As for mobile Value Added Services (VAS), these markets have been artificially stymied because of the high charges that apply to them, and because mass popular use of such services could easily lead to network congestion. These restrictions are being addressed rapidly by ongoing investment in network upgrades and new business models which encourage mobile data use.

Markets highlights:

  • Austria’s mobile market is fiercely contested by four network operators and a growing number of MVNOs and resellers;
  • In Spain competition between the four network operators has driven down the cost of calls by more than a quarter since 2005. About a dozen MVNOs have been launched, further intensifying price competition;
  • Russia has the largest mobile market in Europe. The rapidly growing sector is dominated by three major service providers – MTS, VimpelCom and MegaFon;
  • Hutchison Telecommunications is a leading mobile player in Europe, with operations in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and the UK. The company operates its mobile division under the 3 Group brand;
  • Deutsche Telekom manages its extensive mobile operations through its wholly-owned subsidiary T-Mobile International. T-Mobile owns network operators in Germany (T-Mobile Deutschland), the UK (T-Mobile UK), Austria (T-Mobile Austria), and the Netherlands (T-Mobile Netherlands). In the Czech Republic it has a majority stake in T-Mobile Czech Republic, a major holding in Poland (PTC), as well as indirect shares in Belarus. In addition to these complete and partial ownerships of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom is represented with mobile operators in Hungary (T-Mobile Hungary) Croatia (T-Mobile Croatia), Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Slovakia;
  • Orange’s main markets are France and the UK, where it is a top-three carrier. Orange has a 100% interest in its mobile operations in Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, France and the UK, and also has stakes in several other European operators, including Germany’s MobilCom and Belgium’s Mobistar. It also has a reach in Romania, Poland and Slovakia.

Mobile operator revenue by source in Europe – 2007 - 2010




Internet access









2009 (e)




2010 (e)




(Source: BuddeComm based on EC and industry data) 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Related Reports

Share this Report

TMT Intelligence

A platform to scale your intelligence tasks

Monitor critical insights with our AI-powered Market Intelligence Platform gathering and analyzing intelligence in real time. With AI trained to spot emerging trends and detect new strategic opportunities, our clients use TMT Intelligence to accelerate their growth.

If you want to know more about it, please see:

TMT Intelligence Platform

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:

Research Methodology

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to BuddeComm's weekly newsletter.