Hofer to enter Austrian mobile market

Hofer to enter Austrian mobile market
Hofer shopping trolleys. File photo: APA
Austrian discount supermarket Hofer, the Austrian arm of German giant Aldi Süd, will start offering mobile telecoms services early next year, according to a report in Der Standard newspaper.

Hofer will use T-Mobile Austria's network, Der Standard said on its website, citing a company insider.

A Hofer spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.

T-Mobile Austria, part of Deutsche Telekom, said this month that it expected new entrants on the mobile market to emerge in January.

Hutchison Whampoa unit Drei Austria has to offer wholesale access to its network to up to 16 mobile virtual network operators – which use another company's network to offer telecoms services – as a regulatory condition in its acquisition of Orange Austria last year.

Renting out infrastructure to newcomers in the mobile telecoms market enhances competition but can also bring in additional income for existing providers. Der Standard writes that the authorities in Brussels are keen to stimulate competition and keep prices low for consumers, but that so far this hasn’t worked – with Austrians complaining of rising tarifs and fees.

Internet provider UPC, owned by Liberty Global, also plans to offer mobile phone services using Drei's infrastructure.

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