At first, they were greeted with weary smiles or total disinterest, but mobile telephone discounters have found a lucrative niche and turned it into a smashing success. Brands such as Alditalk, Blau, Fonic and Simyo are now widely familiar to German consumers looking for mobile bargains.
Yet just seven years after its launch as a no-frills service, driven by the advertising slogan “You want it. You got it”, Congstar is among the leaders of the low-priced pack.
“A few weeks ago, we were number three among the discounters,” said Martin Knauer, managing director since June 2011. Congstar has attracted about 3.4 million customers in Germany, who make calls and surf the Internet on the network of parent company Deutsche Telekom, but at significantly more favorable rates.
With annual growth averaging 30 percent, the Cologne-based firm has made a name for itself against more established rivals in the intensely competitive low-cost cellphone sector. In the most recent quarter, it was the second-tier brand that boosted the growth of T-Mobile International, the holding company for Deutsche Telekom’s subsidiaries outside Germany. A recently-completed sponsorship with Hamburg’s popular second-division soccer club FC St. Pauli is expected to increase awareness of the Congstar brand ever further.