The age-old rule of the mobile world has fallen, it has not withstood the onslaught of inflation and coronavirus

You can also listen to the interview in the audio version.

Turbulent times are not avoided even for mobile operators. While in the past the prices of new phones fell below after six months, now the discount is being postponed. “In the past, we were used to the phone lowering its price after six months and again after another six months. Now we see that the phones have been stagnating for a long time at their original price at which they were sold. We do not perceive such a large price erosion, “says Petr Dvořák, CEO of Vodafone, in an interview with SZ Business.

And the company itself is fighting inflation. “The pressures that are being exerted on all societies are being exerted on us. We buy energy for the same price as everyone else. We are under pressure. I don’t want to indicate any steps towards what we are going to do here, but we definitely have to look to be able to offer our services effectively, “he says, adding that if the situation in the energy market does not level off, the operator will have to how it shapes its prices ”.

Prices for services could rise.

How much does the average Czech call and sell per month?

A lot has changed. Since the days of covid, data traffic has roughly tripled and remains high.

According to the Czech Technical University, prices are still more expensive in our country than abroad. Will they go down, or will inflation drive them even higher now?

I don’t like these comparisons, it’s always a question of what you’re comparing. If I take the average expenditure in comparing with Ireland, for example, the Czechs spend significantly less on the service they receive. If I look at unlimited data, then for the price that customers buy in a combined package of CZK 599, in a few markets they would buy the service for this price.

And what about the unlimited tariff for 1,199 crowns? Can it withstand comparisons with Britain and Spain?

I’m not saying that we are the cheapest country, on the other hand, if you look at what service you get for the money, you won’t even listen to the radio on the highways abroad. And just in England you don’t even have that 3G…

Will “pricing” come?

So where will prices go now? Will they fall or copy inflation?

The pressures that are being exerted on all societies are also being exerted on us. We buy energy for the same price as everyone else. We are under pressure. I do not want to indicate here any steps towards what we will do, but we must certainly look to be able to offer our services effectively. We are primarily looking for space inside to make it more efficient. On the other hand, if those pressures remain so high, we will certainly have to reflect them on how we shape our prices.

When will you start shaping your prices?

I won’t say that at the moment. We offer what we have to offer, we think it is competitive. It depends on how the situation develops.

Last summer, when we were deciding to buy energy and “hedge” our prices, I didn’t want to make that decision at all – I was wondering why? After all, our prices are good. But we have bought and so far still benefit from prices that are better than those at which energy is sold today.

Until when will you benefit?

We have “hedgeing” in a few steps, the first one ends at the end of the summer. Then we are still “hedged”, but our position in relation to real prices will of course deteriorate.

5G is an evolution. This is not a dramatic revolution, as we used to be between the first, second and third generations.

Petr Dvorak, Vodafone

Roaming? Traveling in Europe, no more

What about roaming now? Has he returned to the level of 2019 after the covid?

So where are we globally?

If I break it down, it is 20 to 25 percent above the pandemic from the point of view of European traffic and roughly the same below from the point of view of world traffic. Which was the one that carried the customers’ bills.

What about 5G coverage at the moment? What percentage of the Czech Republic still needs to be covered?

We cover more than 70 percent of the Czech population. Of course, 70 percent of Czechs do not use it. It’s a lot affected by the kind of phone they have and 5G phones are still not that much. On the other hand, since Christmas, the vast majority of phones we sell are 5G. Gradually, the penetration will increase.

So how many people actually use it?

In reality, there are hundreds of thousands of customers. It also depends on whether they are moving in the area where 5G is. For example, in Prague it is difficult to avoid 5G.

Is the development of 5G phones hampered by the chip crisis and the fact that manufacturers prefer more expensive phones?

I rather don’t think so much. If we look at the availability of phones in general, some models may not be unit for a while at times, but from a global point of view, we do not see major declines.

But one thing is for sure to see. In the past, we were used to the phone lowering its price after six months and again after another six months. Now we see that the phones have been stagnating for a long time at their original price at which they were sold. We do not perceive such great price erosion.

Where we saw a bigger problem, these were device chipsets that customers use to connect to wired networks.

Is it still missing or is it better?

Huawei technology? The risk is the same as elsewhere

Are you building wireless parts of 5G networks on Huawei technologies?

We have several network elements that we have on Huawei. Not only in the Czech Republic, our entire group tries to spread the supplier risk and at the same time benefit from the fact that we use different suppliers. So even in the Czech Republic we do not only use Huawei, but we also have Huawei.

Despite the fact that the National Office for Cyber ​​and Information Security has issued a valid security warning against Huawei?

This security warning is at the level of issuing a warning with some risk. It is, of course, up to the communication with the office to better explain the risks to us. We do risk checks ourselves with all the suppliers we have and we are quite sure that we do not bring any increased risk compared to other suppliers or other networks.

So you see no reason to leave Huawei?

At this time, we consider Huawei to be any other supplier. Every supplier carries security risks. It’s not that one has 100 percent and the other zero. This is certainly important in the discussion with NÚKIB – how much greater risk they perceive at a particular supplier.

If they issue a tightening, then I suppose, but you will have to respond.

If it is a tightening that takes the form of a regulation, we will, of course, have to adapt.

What makes 5G better for the average user?

5G is an evolution. This is not a dramatic revolution, as we used to be between the first, second and third generations. From the point of view of the average user, the fifth generation brings an increase in speed, a reduction in latency and a substantial increase in the number of connected devices. But here we will turn a little into more business user models. This is the basis of 5G, it can be various private mobile networks and the possibilities that the network offers in terms of security and isolation from the rest of the world.

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