European ISP Market Worth $2.2 Billion

The latest report on the European ISP market has found that the pricing structure in the Internet access industry has changed even though the price of Internet access has decreased.

The report, published by Datamonitor and called “PC-based Consumer Online and Internet Services Across Europe: Surviving Market Consolidation,” estimates that the European residential online access market is worth $2.2 billion, and Germany, the UK, and The Netherlands account for a 74 percent share of the market.

Fierce competition in the European market has brought prices Internet access prices down, but large differences in access costs exist between European countries. For example, Datamonitor estimates the cost to UK households for monthly Internet usage is three times more than that for Scandinavian households.

Despite their higher number of subscribers, Germany and the UK have above average subscription costs, according to the report, largely due to the presence of ISPs offering proprietary content and charging premium fees for their services.

Datamonitor’s research found that Austria and the UK are the most attractive markets for ISPs, because their users spend the least time online for a high subscription cost. Countries such as Finland and Norway spend more time online and pay low subscription fees, making them the least attractive markets.

According to Datamonitor, countries with a high online penetration rate such as Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark are offering Internet access for a low price. This is indicative of market maturity, the report says.

European ISPs are increasingly considering alternative, content-related revenue streams, because of increasing competition and ISPs that offer free access, such as Sweden’s BIP. Competitors either have to squeeze their profit margins to compete or must deliver a better consumer experience that will justify the fee, the report said. Increasing revenue through advertising will not be easy, according to the Datamonitor report, because ISPs hoping to do so must command a large subscriber base, which is difficult in a competitive market.

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