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Luxembourg costly internet reputation unfounded
Cost v Speed

Luxembourg costly internet reputation unfounded

by ADW 5 min. 29.01.2019 From our online archive
UK has cheapest offers, but "you get what you pay for"
Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Word on the street is that using Luxembourg's internet is expensive. But in comparison to its three neighbours, and the UK, the Grand Duchy is holding its own, a study by the Luxembourg Times found.

Making a comparison between the handful of providers in each of these five countries isn't straightforward because prices aren't the only variable: internet speeds differ too. And in the UK the exchange rate plays a role.

Nevertheless, many users in Luxembourg seem sure that things are better elsewhere. "Internet is slow and expensive here", moaned one Facebook user replying to an article. "The internet infrastructure of Luxembourg is shamefully garbage," commented another.

Such strong opinions however, are not backed by the facts – at least not when taking a closer look, for instance by stripping away the special offers, which are obviously short-term only.

At the moment, billboards all over Luxembourg are luring customers to local internet provider Tango with an internet speed of 600Mbit/s for just €14.99 per month. But after six months, that rises to €59.99.

This study ignores such teaser rates, and looks at the cost that customers pay after a year. It limits itself to two options: the cheapest access, and access at or near 100Mbit/s, both with unlimited download.

Country cost comparison

On the first count - which country has the very cheapest rate - Luxembourg doesn't do so well, although it's not last either.

The cheapest rates are on offer in the UK, with provider Plusnet at €15.35 per month (GBP 13.49). But this package also offers the lowest speed of any provider in the study: just at 10Mbit/s.

France comes in second place. The cheapest connection there is from Sosh, at €19.99. Complicating the comparison is the fact that providers in the country do not advertise speeds.

Over the years, several French internet providers have become embroiled in legal cases, accused by the public of cheating, hiding tariffs, or not telling the whole truth in their offers to the public.

Subsequently, operators stopped providing information about the speeds they provide, which means consumers in France have less information to compare offers. All that is known, is that it is an ADSL connection.

Germany is just a cent more expensive than France: Pÿur offers 20Mbit/s for €20 per month.

Luxembourg comes in fourth place. Orange offers unlimited access at €34. That's twice as expensive as the cheapest rate in the UK – but at 20Mbit/s it's also twice as fast.

And so, Luxembourg is actually quite comparable to the UK when it comes to the lowest price: twice the price, twice the speed.

Belgium's cheapest offer comes at €35 with provider Scarlet. But for that price you get a speed of 50Mbit/s. So despite this being the most expensive of the cheapest ones, it could actually offer the best value.

Belgium is another oddball in the comparison though, as most providers there offer limited downloads, making them look cheap at first until you read the small print.

The 100Mbit/s comparison

As well as looking at the cheapest internet access, the study examines internet speed rates of 100Mbit/s or closest it. This rate appears to be one of the most targeted speeds in a competitive market.

When looking at internet speed rates in this category, the order of the countries changes somewhat.

Internet providers O2 and 1&1 both offer an unlimited speed of 100Mbit/s for €34.99 making Germany the cheapest of all the countries.

Belgium with Dommel costs €38.95, while Luxembourg is not far behind with an offer from Orange at €39 for 100Mbit/s.

In the UK, there is only one provider offering this speed: Virgin Media offers 108Mbit/s for €45. Other UK providers simply can't keep up with internet speeds on the continent.

Unfortunately, France is excluded from this section as providers don't advertise internet speeds.

Looking across the entire spectrum of speeds, Luxembourg actually offers one of the best rates: SFR Luxembourg has 200Mbit/s on offer at €39 per month, but it is important to note that SFR currently only covers about 20,000 households on their own cable network. Only German provider Pÿur has an offer that is even more attractive: 200Mbit/s at €30.

Luc Tapella, director of the Luxembourg Institute of Regulation (ILR) said that "Luxembourg has a large fibre network, about 60%. Other countries around Luxembourg don't have much of a fibre network. A lot of investment has been made here, so we can rely on a good network."

The regulator believes that of all the surrounding countries, Luxembourg has the best network speed. But it declined to comment on the price comparison, as it had not itself carried out such an investigation.

In summary: Luxembourg does not fare badly in a regional comparison. The Grand Duchy certainly doesn't have the cheapest offers. But among speeds an average user requires, it has some very competitive ones.

It goes without saying that not every user will be able to benefit from these offers. The quality of a connection depends on the particulars of a location. For example, those without fibre optic phone line, cannot take advantage of fast internet access. But that is the same in every country.

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