Europeans giving up their mobile phones

Europeans giving up their mobile phones
In the U.S., smartphones have become extremely popular to the point that talk around the water cooler is not about Lebron but is about the specs on the Samsung Galaxy S III. But over in Europe, there has been a change as mobile subscribers have started to drop their lines in droves. For example, in April alone 380,000 mobile lines were dropped in Spain. And in France, the number of handsets expected to be purchased this year will be lower than the total from 2011.

What is causing Europeans to turn ice cold on a market that was once red hot? The obvious answer is the economy. In Spain, for example, an unemployment rate of 25% is forcing those with low incomes to cut back, which is why pre-paid carriers suffered the most in Spain. That shows you how bad things are in that country. During tough times, you would expect pre-paid carriers to add subscribers as mobile phone users shift from hefty monthly contract rates to paying for service on a month-to-month basis.

Some Spanish carriers like Telefonica and Vodafone are testing out a new business plan and are removing subsidies from new phone prices which has to hurt in this economy. In France, analysts believe part of the decline in handset sales has to do with the upstart carrier Free which sends voice traffic over Wi-Fi when possible, similar to Republic Wireless in the States. Free is signing up customers coming to the carrier with unlocked smartphones, purchasing SIM cards but not new phones.

For many years, many European countries had more phones in use than people living in the country to use them. This better than 100% penetration has finally come home to hurt the carriers as users seem to be able to squeeze more life out of older phones. Now that is something that U.S.smartphone users would laugh at as many upgrade their handset as soon as the Next Big Thing comes along. The penetration numbers might have come back to earth a bit, they are still high and once the economy turns around, Europeans might just decide that they cannot live without their mobile handset.source: GigaOM



1. wendygarett unregistered

Alert Apple!!! Europeans giving up iPhones as well...

2. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

I hope those europeans give their phones to me for freee.

16. hepresearch unregistered

Do I detect a clip from Adam Sandler's "Bedtime Stories" shining through? "Are you going to sell me your Ferrari... for FREEEE???"

3. snowgator

Posts: 3624; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

yeah, you would hope that pesky things like food and homes would come before things like movies (which I read is also suffering in the hardest hit sections in Europe) and Phones. Tough conditions right now.

4. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Here in the US too, sales have dropped considerably. Our REAL not manipulated unemployment rate right now hovers around 15 to 17%. When people have to decide between having groceries for the next two weeks or sending 150.00 to a carrier, how do you think they decide?

11. items17070

Posts: 70; Member since: Dec 20, 2011

absolutely right! i will give up the money hungry cell phone!, but i REFUSE to give up my FILET MIGNON! ;-)

13. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

My Moto Triumph monthly bill is only $25. I never understood why people believe it is better to pay $80 or more a month over a two-year contract just to have a carrier subsize a phone by $300 or more.

15. hobble

Posts: 130; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

Nationally USA's unemployment rate is hovering around 8%. Quit listening to fox news and do some research, you are making yourself sound like a fool to informed folks.

5. metoyou

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

...Now I feel a little guilty! cuz I just bought a new shiny S3 Born and raise in Asia, I know how hard it is when this hit you, Hope they recover soon. god bless them

6. imran_khan0786

Posts: 61; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

Better to put Samsung phones in dust bin. Here s3 gave lot of problem. First it launched too expensive and giving lot of problem. Its failed in India. Don't purchase other people also. Hate Samsung.

12. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Yes been reading of all the problems associated with this phone, including inability to dial out. I'll wait two months for reviews of actual users; remember GNx the piece of junk in turned out to be, everyone at Verizon trying to get rid of it.

7. Caralho

Posts: 119; Member since: Jun 18, 2012

This sucks

10. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Haha. Like your avatar. You from Portugal, Brazil?

8. jmoita2

Posts: 930; Member since: Dec 23, 2011

Nice avatar!!! lol

14. hepresearch unregistered

When this starts happening wholesale in the US, then we will know that things are just as bad here, too. I am among the 'actual' 15 to 17% unemployed, and have been without work for more than 18 months now, without any unemployment benefits whatsoever the entire time, and I carry a $9.99 add-on line to my parents' Nationwide 550 plan. I get to use the free nights and weekends, and use their scrap monthly minutes each month, for that price, which really isn't too shabby. It is nothing like the smartphone data plans and stuff I used to use like crazy on more than one carrier at a time for a few years, back in the day, so when it comes to this behavior in Europe, I can say I have already been there and done that. For being a 'westerner', I have cut almost all excess I could think of out of my life.

17. akbar

Posts: 62; Member since: Feb 09, 2012

I think you are getting the wrong impression here. In Europe was quiet common to have multiple phones due to better deals for carrier to carrier rates. I guess much of the people are simply deciding which one to keep. Also the carrier subsidized phones were never that big of a deal so everybody is trying to make use of their phone as best and as long possible. We do not have that big consumerism society.

18. imran_khan0786

Posts: 61; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

I never trust on Samsung.

19. dmckay12

Posts: 243; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I am not surprised that the French are giving up something.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.
FCC OKs Cingular's purchase of AT&T Wireless