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Q2 2013 market figures of telecom market: downward spiral of number of text messages appears to have stopped

  • Text messaging is undeniably past its prime, through decrease has slowed down
  • Data usage on smartphones and tablets continues to grow
  • Cable providers remain strong in bundles segment, while KPN is on the rise

These are some of the main trends that can be seen in the telecom market figures of the second quarter of 2013, which the Netherlands Authority for Consumer and Markets (ACM) published today. The Telecom Monitor shows the trends in mobile services, fixed telephony, broadband, television, and business network services, and is based on data coming from the main market participants in the telecom industry.

Mobile services

In the second quarter, the number of smartphones and tablets with internet access increased with 580,000 connections to over 11 million. The majority of these connections (10.2 million) concern smartphone subscriptions.

The number of mobile connections decreased with almost 400,000 to 21.3 million. Particularly providers with their own networks have lost connections. On the other hand, providers without networks of their own have seen an increase in customer numbers. Total turnover in the market for mobile services in the past six months has increased compared with the total turnover in the second half of 2012. Even though the turnover from voice services has decreased, it was more than offset by the increase in turnover from data.

Data traffic continues to grow considerably. In the second quarter of 2013, data traffic was 7.8 petabyte, which is an increase of 46% compared to the same period in the previous year. The popularity of text messaging has once again decreased. The number of text messages continues to drop – from 2.1 billion in the second quarter of 2012 to less than 1.4 billion in the second quarter of 2013. The decrease has slowed down though – from almost 14% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to less than 4% in the second quarter of 2013.

Fixed telephony

With regard to the landlines, Dutch consumers make more and more calls to mobile phones. In the second quarter of 2013, voice minutes over landlines totaled 5 billion. Calls to other landlines dropped by approximately 5% when compared with the same period in 2012, but calls to mobile phones increased by 6%.

Consumers continue to switch to digital telephony in the second quarter of 2012 as well. Compared with the second quarter of 2012, the share of ISDN connections decreased from 11% to 9%, while the share of PSTN connections decreased from 27% to 23%.


At the end of June 2013, the total number of broadband subscriptions over landlines was slightly over 6.7 million. After a modest growth in the first quarter, the number of connections increased with 37,000 in the second quarter. The number of DSL connections continues to drop, while the number of cable connections has slightly increased.

A total of 457,000 households and businesses now have broadband access over fiber optic, which are 23,000 more than the previous quarter. The number of households that can choose broadband access over fiber optic increased in the second quarter with 275,000 connections. The average download speed has remained more or less the same as in the previous quarter.


In the Netherlands, 84 percent of all households (out of a total of 7.4 million households) have digital television. The majority of digital subscriptions is over cable.

There are 4.8 million cable subscribers in the Netherlands. Three in four cable subscribers have a digital connection. In the second quarter of 2013, the number of digital subscriptions over cable grew less rapidly than in previous quarters.

The total number of subscriptions over cable decreased with 58,000, while the number of subscriptions over other infrastructures increased with 39,000. With the number of subscriptions over cable decreasing, the competitive positions of market participants are shifting. In the second quarter, KPN’s market share increased from 25% to 30%.


More and more households buy their services from a single provider. The trend of bundling therefore continued in the first half of 2013. Two in three bundles (of a total of almost 5.5 million) is a triple-play bundle. Such bundles combine broadband internet, television and fixed telephony. Cable providers originally had a strong position in bundles, but KPN is on the rise in this segment.