Study on issues of competition and regulation in the mobile telephone service market

ANACOM has commissioned and coordinated a study, conducted by Indera - Estudos Económicos, on issues of competition and regulation in the mobile telephone service market (MTS), with two strands:

  • Billing - as regards the effects of reductions in mobile termination pricing on MTS providers and end-users, based on an analysis of end-user billing data from various MTS providers and from three providers of the fixed service telephone (FTS) for the period September 2012 to August 2013, with application of linear regression models.
  • Survey - from the viewpoint of MTS users, particularly regarding:

    a) factors affecting decisions to join and stay on a MTS provider's network;

    b) roaming valuation factors;

    c) substitutability between voice calls over the Internet and MTS, with survey data collected by Universidade Católica Portuguesa, acting as supplementary personnel, between the end of June and the beginning of July 2014; the questionnaire was prepared based on the method of declared preferences with application of discrete choice models to the survey results.

Looking at billing, it is of note that in the case of inter-mobile network calls, in general, an increase of about 3% was estimated in the amount charged by MTS providers in terms of price per minute over the observed period. However, no such increase was reported, in general, in the case of intra-network mobile calls. Results of the analysis also point to no plausible link between the estimated increase in the price per minute charged to end-users and any changes resulting from regulatory activity.

Looking at the survey, and in the case of users contracting and retaining MTS from the same provider, it is notable that the retail price has significant bearing on consumer decisions, to the detriment of variables such as contract lock-in period or the size of the operator's network.

As regards preferences in terms of roaming services, there seems to be a general readiness to pay for such services. In the case of preference between voice calls over Internet versus voice calls by MTS, when the quality and the price of calls are identical in both options, there seems to be resistance to the adoption of new technology for making voice calls. However, when there are differences in the quality and price of the calls, the results point to quality being a more important factor than price when deciding which service to use.