Hungary rolls out mobile handset upgrade subsidies

Telco

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The head of Hungary's National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) on Thursday announced the launch of a HUF 5 billion program to help consumers exchange their old 3G mobile phones for ones compatible with 4G or 5G networks, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

NMHH chairman Mónika Karas said HUF 20,000 will be available to Hungarians who want to upgrade their handsets from February 2022.

About half a million Hungarians use handsets that are only compatible with 3G networks.

Deputy state secretary for digitalisation Károly Balázs Solymár said the subsidies will contribute to the further increase in internet users and the development of network quality. He noted that 30% of mobile subscribers still don't use broadband mobile internet.

The program is funded from the budget of the NMHH but is being implemented in partnership with the Innovation and Technology Ministry. Details of the subsidy scheme are posted, in Hungarian, at netrefel.hu

Magyar Telekom, Hungary's biggest mobile service provider, said in September it will discontinue its 3G network from the second half of 2022. Peer Telenor Magyarorszag will start its own 3G phase-out from June 2022.

Vodafone Magyarország told MTI it will decide on the manner and timing of phasing out its 3G network "taking into consideration market conditions and subscriber needs".

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