A quarter of a million Spaniards ditched their mobile phones in
September, with Telefonica and Vodafone bearing the brunt of
cancellations by recession-hit consumers.
Spain's telecoms watchdog
said on Thursday mobile phone connections fell 242,000 in the month, the
eighth consecutive decline in a country at the forefront of the euro
zone debt crisis and where one in four of the workforce is unemployed.
The decline is bigger than the 226,000 connections cancelled in August, though below April's record of 380,000.
September, both Telefonica and Vodafone have announced cheaper tariffs
in an escalating price war between Spanish operators.
cash-strapped consumers have been switching from big players like
Telefonica's Movistar to smaller firms offering cheaper deals like
"In line with previous months, the declines
registered by Movistar and Vodafone were not outweighed by the increases
at other mobile operators," the regulator CMT said in a statement.
cut off 254,000 Movistar connections, while Vodafone noted a decline of
178,000. Yoigo gained 40,000 new customers, while France Telecom's
Orange attracted 25,000 new mobile clients.
Vodafone had used Spain as a testing ground for scrapping smartphone
subsidies and stopped offering customers cut-price or free phones
earlier this year.
Vodafone said this week it would bring back
subsidies, leaving Telefonica as the only player on the market not
offering customers discount handsets on a general basis.
the biggest telecoms company in Europe by revenue, reported nine-month
results on Wednesday that showed Spain was a drag on the business, with
total customers in its home market down 7.5 percent in the third
Telefonica launched a "Fusion" package last month,
bundling fixed line, mobile, internet and television services in a bid
to fight off competition from low-cost rivals.
head Eva Castillo said 430,000 customers had signed up for Fusion but
declined to say how many came from the company's existing customer base.
She vowed the company would not reintroduce subsidies.
rival Jazztel last month offered a smartphone worth more than 200 euros
for 5 euros a month if clients took a combined fixed and mobile package.
© Thomson Reuters 2012