As part of the regulatory changes after Hutchison Whampoa's acquisition of Orange Austria in 2013, the Austrian government forced operators to open up for competition through the use of Mobile Virtual Network Operators – allowing up to 16 companies which could set up their own phone business, based on the networks already in place, at whatever pricing they wanted to set.
Hofer's offer, known as Hofer Telecom (HOT), launches on January 2nd, and will include a package of minutes, text and data for only €9.90 per month, using T-Mobile's network.
The prepaid starter package including Sim card and Hot Flex will cost €1.99 and is available online or at a Hofer market. The package will likely replace Hofer's existing Yesss! partner offer.
Hot Flex offers a calling fee of €0.039 per minute. The service includes two add-ons: Hot Fix offering 1,000 minutes or SMSs within Austria plus3 GB mobile data at 7.2 Mbps for €9.99 per 30 days, and Hot Data offering 3 GB at 21 Mbps for € 6.99 per 30 days.
Earlier this month, UPC launched a new mobile service as an MVNO using the Drei (Three) network, with deals starting at €14.90 per month. A third company called Mass Response is also expected to enter the market in 2015.