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ACM gives Dutch telecom companies room for making arrangements

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) welcomes the arrangements made between Dutch telecom company KPN and rival companies Tele2, Online and Vodafone about access to KPN’s network. These arrangements create certainty in the telecommunications sector for an extended period of time, which is positive for investments in telecom networks. According to ACM, KPN’s competitors must be given access to its network, and, for the first time, ACM has given market participants the freedom to sort out this access amongst themselves.

Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: “These arrangements will ensure that KPN continues to be able to invest in network improvements. Competitors that use KPN’s network will thus also be able to offer consumers and businesses faster, better, and cheaper telecom services. This will result in more competition in the Dutch telecommunications sector.”

The arrangements between the telecom providers

KPN agreed with Tele2, Online and Vodafone about how, over the next few years, they will gain access to KPN’s copper network without KPN’s new technologies causing any service disruptions to customers of Tele2, Online and Vodafone. With a new service called ‘VULA,’ telecom providers are able to get access to KPN’s copper network at lower tariffs, and will continue to be able to determine themselves what download speeds and television services they offer their customers. As a result, they are able to compete with KPN better. Tele2 has now concluded an agreement with KPN about access using VULA. Online and Vodafone, too, have an agreement with KPN about access to the network, but they have not yet taken any decision about whether or not to use the new VULA service.

Background

Over the next few years, KPN wishes to improve its copper network further using new technologies. With these new technologies, KPN is able, for example, to offer its customers higher download speeds and higher-quality television services. One of the downsides of using these new technologies is that, in some areas in the Netherlands, the telecom services of customers of Tele2 and Online may be disrupted. ACM has decided that KPN is only allowed to improve its network and use new technologies if KPN makes sure that customers of competitors will not be negatively affected. That is why KPN over the past few months had sat down with competitors (within the boundaries of the requirements set by ACM in the recent market analysis decision) to agree on a different standard of access to its copper network, one that will ensure that these problems will not arise.