Feature Article

November 05, 2012

T-Mobile Mulling Withdrawal from Austrian Market

Despite being one of the major cellular providers in the world, T-Mobile is often looked at as the ugly duckling of the other companies that are better known. Despite the fact that T-Mobile has made some real moves toward competing with the other big boys in the smartphone market, the company is struggling in markets like Austria. 

T-Mobile CEO Andreas Bierwirth recently claimed that the company will either slash their investments in the market or pull out of the country all together if it was not allowed a fair share of the frequencies that are needed for their 4G/LTE devices.

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The move out of Austria would be a blow to the country, as T-Mobile is the second largest mobile provider, following Telekom Austria. Two rivals that are looking to join the fray are France’s Telecom SA Orange and H3G. These two companies have planned a merger that is under review by the Austrian regulatory agency. 

The T-Mobile CEO told an Austrian paper that he was worried what might happen if the two companies were allowed to merge and gain access to the LTE spectrum at the same time. If the merge was allowed to happen then H3G and Austria Telekom would then get frequencies that were set aside for Apple’s iPhone 5. That in turn would mean a “massive skewing of competition,” for other companies such as T-Mobile.

If this particular move does go through, Bierwirth says that his company would need to review its market positioning and scale back the investment plans on a large scale. There are actually several reports coming out of Europe that the merger has already been approved and that the announcement is just a formality, but both companies claim that is not the case just yet. 

Austria seems like an odd battle ground in the smartphone wars, but it could actually just be a precursor considering the amount of use these networks are now seeing across the globe.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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