Discussion Papers

No. 468: The development of retail offers on the German mobile communications market 2017-2020

Authors: Menessa Ricarda Braun, Julian Knips, Christian Wernick

(full version only available in German)


This discussion paper analyses mobile offers in the German market in the period between January 2017 and June 2020. Based on qualitative and quantitative analyses, the study at hand provides deeper insights into the market structures and competitive developments in recent years.

The study focuses on the analysis of the development of mobile offers for retail customers. We examine the development of offers over time and distinguish between different types of users. We give insights on the relevant business models, their essential characteristics and the institutional framework conditions. Finally, competitive and market developments are presented.

Our analysis reveals a wide range of products and services, which target different user segments. We observe decreasing prices or increasing data limits at stable prices over time for the majority of tariffs offered. MVNOs, second brands and branded resellers compete heavily against each other in the low/medium usage segment. Thereby, independent MVNOs are under pressure from below (by branded resellers) and from above (by second brands of MNOs).

In the high usage segment, the variety of offers and the intensity of competition decrease significantly. Service providers are hardly able to serve this segment due to their existing wholesale arrangements, while competition between MNOs is rather low due to existing gaps in network coverage and quality. It remains to be seen whether the entry of 1&1 Drillisch into the MNO segment will have an impact on competition in this segment.

Discussion paper is available for download.

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