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OPTA threatens to impose penalties for failure to provide information about number portability and to comply with obligations concerning the latter

OPTA, the regulatory authority for the postal and telecommunications markets, has notified Intercity Mobile Communications, KPN Telecom and Talkline Benelux that it intends to proceed with the imposition of penalties, because they have failed to comply with their obligations in respect of number portability. Intercity would be required to pay NLG 5000.00, KPN NLG 500,000.00 and Talkline NLG 100,000.00. OPTA has discovered that these companies failed to inform those of their customers whose subscriptions were renewed between 1 January and 1 April, of the possibility of switching to any of its competitors while retaining their telephone number.

In recent weeks OPTA has been investigating whether telecommunications companies and service providers have actually been offering number portability since 1 April. Number portability has been mandated by law since 1 January 1999, although its actual implementation was delayed until 1 April.

The investigations conducted by OPTA have revealed that the companies that were subject to them have complied with their duty to offer number portability until now, although problems have inevitably occurred. There is still much to be desired, particularly with regard to the provision of information to customers. However, OPTA had also insisted that the companies had to provide information about the possibility of switching to a competitor while retaining their telephone number, to those of their customers whose subscriptions expired and were renewed between 1 January and 1 April.

OPTA has discovered that Intercity, KPN and Talkline have failed to notify those customers of this. For this reason OPTA wishes to impose penalties on them of NLG 5000.00, NLG 500,000.00 and NLG 100,000.00 respectively. When determining the level of these penalties, OPTA considered, amongst other things, the number of subscribers of these three companies, the implications for their customers, and their competitive position. Should OPTA fail to find grounds in any response received from Intercity, KPN and Talkline to revise its plans, these companies will actually be required to pay the penalties.