Vodafone Italia’s new budget MVNO brand Ho has reduced the price of a plan—aimed at subscribers to other MVNOs and to Iliad Italia—to €4.99 (US $5.68) a month from €7.99 (US $9.10). The plan includes 50 GB of 4G/LTE data plus unlimited calls and SMS. The operator has sent SMS to customers who signed up to the same offer at the original price between 19 October and 6 November, informing them that they will be charged €3.00 a month less from now on. SIM cards cost €9.99 (US $11.38). Download speeds are limited to 30 Mbps, and EU roaming data is limited to 2.5 GB a month.
Ho’s price reduction comes amid a dramatic change in Italy’s market climate. In the two months since France’s Iliad launched its service in the country, on 29 May, mobile rates went down by an average of 20.5 percent, according to a market report. Iliad has brought with it the disruptive strategy that it used to great effect in its country of origin, France, and disruption has definitely occurred.
Iliad’s offer has 50 GB of 4G/LTE data, 4 GB for EU roaming, and unlimited calls and SMS, for €7.99 a month. Vodafone’s Ho’s offering was almost identical, in terms of allowances and price; now it has decided to cut that price almost in half and even to offer the discount retroactively to the customers who already agreed to purchase it at the original price. This decision speaks volumes about the operator’s level of concern about the state of competition in the market. Whether such a low pricing level is sustainable for Ho remains to be seen—and does whether the new MVNO is viable at all.