Sunday, January 2, 2011

France : VAT increase can turn to a free IPhone for consumers

In France, government has increased VAT rate on Internet access from 5.5% to 19.6%. Based on this increase, most of telecom operators (Orange, SFR, Bouygues) increase their price to more or less reflect the VAT increase.

However, according to this site (, this price increase is considered as a possible breach on contract. Consumers who contracted a package including a mobile phone with a subscription are now allowed to keep the phone, stop the contract and ... re-initiate a new contract possibly including a new phone. So the expensive I-Phone acquired a few weeks ago within the scope of a contract can become yours ... and you can get a new one, restarting a new contract.

That's where sponsoring (or bundling subscription and phones) of mobile phone for recruiting new subscribers of expensive subscriptions or membership can turn to become very expensive for operators.

In a world of expected continuous inflation during next years, telecom operators would be well inspired to better study their pricing, contracts and bundling strategy instead of applying linear changes. As consumers, we should probably be even more careful reading terms and conditions in the future.

All this clearly benefits to mobile phone manufacturers. Apple, Samsung, Nokia and the likes but also Google through Android could accelerate their sales in France beginning of this year if this trick turns to be applied by a lot of consumers.

Price increases are also announced in Belgium. Will the same apply ?

To be continued.

Benoit Quirynen

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