Prices for telecommunication services are generally higher in Belgium than in neighbouring countries, but a recent report has highlighted consumers could be spending less than they currently are.
A report by the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) found that by better defining their desired services and by regularly comparing available telecom offers, consumers can “make considerable savings on telecommunications services.”
To give a broad and varied picture of the market, BIPT focused on consumers’ needs, illustrated by means of ten households with sufficiently differentiated profiles, and took into account all plans included in the tariff comparator on the ‘Beste Tarief’ website.
“As far as mobile services are concerned, we note that considerable savings can be made by comparing all available offers and by allowing competition to play a greater role,” BIPT wrote in a statement.
This is mainly due to the fact that three mobile network operators (MNOs) – the so-called “historical” brands: Proximus, Orange and Telenet/BASE – hold almost 90% of the country’s mobile customer base.
The virtual mobile operator (MVNOs), an operator that does not have its own mobile network and that uses the network of an MNO to offer its services (such as Neibo and Youfone), and low-cost brands of the MNOs (Scarlet, Mobile Vikings, hey!, BASE Turk) only hold just over 10%.
Saving up to €215
Contracts with MVNOs or the low-cost options can reduce the bill for people with basic mobile usage by an average of between €50 and more than €100 per year in comparison with the “historical” brands.
Meanwhile, a family with a large usage that has a contract with Proximus-Telenet-VOO could reduce their bill by €215 per year by switching to another operator (for example, Orange).
Customers can also save more by better defining their needs so that they only purchase the services they need or by broadening their choices by “combining” suppliers, for example having a contract with one supplier for fixed (Internet, television, fixed telephone) and one with another supplier for mobile needs.
The ‘Beste Tarief’ website allows consumers to create their own profile or automatically retrieve their own usage pattern from their current operator’s website to compare prices.