Hofer to enter Austrian mobile market

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 to enter Austrian mobile market
Hofer shopping trolleys. File photo: APA

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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Germany’s BMW to put €1 billion into electric vehicles in Austria

German auto manufacturer BMW said on Monday it would invest "around one billion euros" in the production of electric vehicles at a plant in Austria from 2025.

Germany's BMW to put €1 billion into electric vehicles in Austria

Altogether, 600,000 units a year should roll off the line at the factory in Steyr under the investment plan, set to run until 2030, BMW said in a statement.

From 2025, BMW will “develop and produce the next generation of e-drives” at the Austrian site, BMW’s production chief Milan Nedeljkovic said.

The refurbishment of the plant will see two new production lines added and the location expanded by 60,000 square metres.

The new facilities would require €710 million in investment, while €230 million would be dedicated to boosting vehicle development at Steyr.

“Around half” the 4,400 employees at the site would be working on “e-mobility” by 2030, plant boss Alexander Susanek said.

The Bavarian manufacturer said it aimed to have two million electric vehicles on the road by 2025, promising 13 new electric models and a revamp of its Mini brand.

BMW has already said it will spend €400 million to upgrade its home factory in Munich to produce electric vehicles.