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Ruling handed down by OPTA in the Denda case: KPN may charge no more than half a cent for the details of each subscriber

When supplying subscriber details KPN may charge other parties no more than half a cent for each subscriber’s details. However, in this respect KPN may stipulate that this information may not be used for so-called ‘reverse searches’. OPTA, the regulatory authority for the postal and telecommunications markets, has decided this in response to a complaint filed by Denda Multimedia.

Denda had filed its complaint with both the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) and OPTA. It wishes to publish a telephone directory on CD-ROM containing the details of all the telephone subscribers in the Netherlands. At the end of last year NMa and OPTA had already ruled that KPN had a duty to supply subscriber details to other organisations, such as Denda, for a cost-oriented tariff and subject to non-discriminatory conditions. According to both regulatory authorities, this would amount to less than half a cent for the details of each subscriber instead of the 85 cents which KPN was charging Denda. Following this provisional ruling, NMa handed the matter over to OPTA.

OPTA has now finally ruled that cost-orientation means that KPN may charge other parties no more than 0.5 cents for the details of each subscriber. As it happens, those parties will only receive these details, if they publish a telephone directory containing all of the subscriber numbers that have been issued in the Netherlands. This decision taken by OPTA does not apply to the production of other directories. For the rest, KPN is required to supply its details to others in the same manner and subject to identical conditions as to itself. In addition, OPTA has prohibited KPN from stipulating any requirements in respect of the purpose for which other parties may use these details because KPN does not impose such requirements on itself.

However, when supplying subscriber details, KPN may require that they not be used for ‘reverse searches’. This refers to the display of the relevant name and address by basing a search on a particular telephone number. It is impossible to do this in the case of KPN’s telephone directory on CD-ROM and this condition therefore does not contravene the principle of non-discrimination. For the same reason one may not make unlimited copies of the data supplied by KPN either.