The mobile-cellular sub-basket refers to the price of a standard basket of mobile monthly usage for 30 outgoing calls per month (on-net/off-net to a fixed line and for peak and off-peak times) in predetermined ratios, plus 100 SMS messages . It is calculated as a percentage of a country’s average monthly GNI p.c. and is also presented in USD and PPP$1.
The mobile-cellular sub-basket is based on prepaid prices, although postpaid prices are used for countries where prepaid subscriptions make up less than two per cent of all mobile-cellular subscriptions.
The mobile-cellular sub-basket is largely based on, but does not entirely follow, the 2009 methodology of the OECD low-user basket, which is the entry-level basket with the smallest number of calls included (OECD, 2010). Unlike the 2009 OECD methodology, which is based on the prices of the two largest mobile operators, the ITU mobile sub-basket uses only the largest mobile operator’s prices. Nor does the ITU mobile-cellular sub-basket take account of calls to voicemail (which in the OECD basket represent four per cent of all calls) or non-recurring charges, such as the one-time charge for a SIM card. The basket gives the price of a standard basket of mobile monthly usage in USD determined by OECD for 30 outgoing calls per month in predetermined ratios, plus 100 SMS messages2
. The cost of national SMS is the charge to the consumer for sending a single SMS text message. Both on-net and off-net SMS prices are taken into account. The basket considers on-net and off-net calls as well as calls to a fixed telephone3
and, since the price of a call often depends on the time of day or week it is made, peak, off-peak and weekend periods are also taken into consideration. The call distribution is outlined in Table 1.1.
Table 1.1: OECD mobile-cellular low-user call distribution (2009 methodology):
Call distribution by time of day (%)
|Call distribution (%)||17.0||56.0 ||26.0 ||100.0 ||100.0|
|Calls||5.2 ||16.9 ||7.9 ||30.0 |||
| Peak ||2.4 ||7.8 ||3.6 ||13.8 ||46.0|
| Off-peak ||1.5 ||4.9 ||2.3 ||8.7 ||29.0|
|Duration (minutes per call) ||2.0 ||1.6 ||1.7 |||||
|Duration (total minutes of calls) ||10.4||27.0 ||13.4 ||50.9 ||N/A|
| Off-peak ||3.0 ||7.8 ||3.9 ||14.8||29.0|
|Calls ||30 calls per month |||
|SMS ||100 SMS per month (50 on-net, 50 off-net) |||
Source: ITU, based on OECD (2010)
Prepaid prices are chosen because they are often the only payment method available to low-income users, who might not have a regular income and will thus not qualify for a postpaid subscription. Rather than reflecting the cheapest option available, the mobile-cellular sub-basket therefore corresponds to a basic, representative (low-usage) package available to all customers. In countries where no prepaid offers are available, the monthly fixed cost (minus the free minutes of calls included, if applicable) of a postpaid subscription is added to the basket. To make prices comparable, a number of rules are applied (see Box 1.1).
Box 1.1: Rules applied in collecting mobile-cellular prices
The prices of the operator with the largest market share (measured by the number of subscriptions) are used. If prices vary between different regions of the country, prices refer to those applied in the largest city (in terms of population) or in the capital city.
Prices should be collected in the currency they are advertised, including taxes. If prices are not advertised in local currency, a note should be added specifying the currency.
Prices refer to prepaid plans. Where the operator offers different packages with a certain number of calls and/or SMS messages included, the cheapest one on the basis of 30 calls and 100 SMS should be selected. If instead of a pay-per-use plan a package is selected for the whole basket (e.g. a bundle including 100 SMS, 60 minutes and 100MB) or for some of its elements (e.g. a package including 100 SMS), it should be indicated in the notes. In countries where prepaid subscriptions account for less than 2 per cent of the total subscription base, postpaid prices may be used. In this case, the monthly subscription fee, plus any free minutes, will be taken into consideration for the calculation of the mobile-cellular sub-basket.
If per-minute prices are only advertised in internal units rather than in national currency, the price of the top-up/refill charge is used to convert internal units into national currency. If there are different refill prices, then the “cheapest/smallest” refill card is used. If different refill charges exist depending on the validity period, the validity period for 30 days (or closest to 30 days) is used.
Prices refer to a regular (non-promotional) plan and exclude special or promotional offers, limited discounts or options such as special prices to certain numbers or restricted to new customers, or plans where calls can only be made during a limited number of (or on specific) days during the month.
If subscribers can chose “favourite” numbers (for family, friends, etc.) with a special price, this special price will not be taken into consideration, irrespective of the quantity of numbers involved.
Prices refer to outgoing local calls. If different rates apply for local and national calls, then the local rate is used. If different charges apply depending on the mobile operator called, the price of calls to the operator with the second largest market share (measured by the number of subscriptions) should be used, indicating in the notes the rates of calling to other mobile operators. If charges apply to incoming calls, these are not taken into consideration.
If prices vary between minutes (1st minute = price A, 2nd minute = price B, 3rd minute = price C), the sum of the different prices is divided by the number of different prices (for example: price per minute = (A+B+C)/3).
If prices vary beyond three minutes, the average price per minute is calculated based on the first three minutes.
If there is a connection cost per call, then this is taken into consideration in the formula for the mobile-cellular sub-basket, based on 30 calls.
If there are different off-peak prices, then the one that is the cheapest before midnight is used. If the only off-peak period is after midnight, then this is not used. Instead, the peak price is used.
If there are different peak prices, the most expensive one during the daytime is used.
If there are different weekend prices, the price that applies Sundays during the daytime is used (or the equivalent day in countries where weekends are not on Sundays).
If there is no weekend price, the average peak and off-peak price that is valid during the week is used.
If peak and off-peak SMS prices exist, the average of both is used for on-net and off-net SMS.
If calls are charged by call or by hour (and not by the minute), the mobile-cellular sub-basket formula will be calculated on the basis of 30 calls or 50.9 minutes. Similarly, if calls are charged by call or by number of minutes for a specific network/time of the day, this will be taken into account for that particular network/time of the day.
If monthly, recurring charges exist, they are added to the sub-basket.