Public consultation on conditions for access to PostNL’s 24-hour postal services
Dutch postal operator PostNL must offer other postal operators that deliver 24-hour business bulk mail access to its postal delivery network. This has been laid down by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in a new draft market-analysis decision, which ensures that postal operators continue to be able to offer services on the market for 24-hour business bulk mail. This will lead to lower prices, high-quality services, and more choice for business senders.
On September 3, 2018, the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) reversed a previous market analysis decision by ACM on 24-hour business bulk mail. The CBb ruled that ACM had insufficiently substantiated that digital sending is not part of the market for 24-hour business bulk mail.
Solving potential competition problems
Following this ruling, ACM reassessed the market. Based on its additional findings, ACM has established that digital sending exerts insufficient pressure on prices for 24-hour business bulk mail, and is therefore not part of this market.
On the market for 24-hour business bulk mail, PostNL enjoys a dominant position. PostNL is the only operator in the Netherlands that has a nationwide 24-hour postal delivery network. Other operators only have regional delivery networks. For these other operators, it would not be profitable (or even likely, given the decline in volumes) to roll out a nationwide network. Yet in order to be able to offer its customers nationwide coverage, postal operators are offered access to PostNL’s postal delivery network. In its draft market analysis decision, ACM sets the tariffs and conditions for this access for the period of 2019 through 2021.
The proposed tariffs are based on PostNL’s costs plus a reasonable return. The tariffs take into account the effects of the rapidly shrinking postal market, including the effects on PostNL. The conditions are necessary to enable postal operators to compete with PostNL.
The Dutch postal market
In its postal monitor, ACM established that the Dutch postal market has been experiencing a sharp decline for quite some now. On the other hand, the parcel market has been growing. It is conceivable that, in time, the postal market will evolve into a delivery market, a broader market, consisting of mail and parcels, among other products. However, such a transition is not a certainty, let alone easily managed. In order to at least enable the current postal operators to undergo this transition, ACM has created a clear framework for the next three years with this draft market analysis decision.
Through February 14, 2019, interested parties have the opportunity to share their opinions on the draft market analysis decision. ACM will carefully examine these comments, and will subsequently finalize the market analysis decision.
Your opinions can be sent to ACM by regular mail or by email. Please include ‘Draft market analysis decision on 24-hour bulk mail’.
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Market (ACM)
Telecommunications, Transport and Postal Services Department (TVP)
P.O. Box 16326
2500 BH The Hague
24-12-2018 Draft market analysis decision on 24-hour business bulk mail (in Dutch)