KPN still appears to be failing to offer a proper registration procedure for carrier preselection (automatically routing calls through one of KPN’s competitors). OPTA has therefore decided that KPN must offer a procedure which works properly within five working days. Every day after 26 July that registration does not proceed smoothly, will cost KPN NLG 500,000.00 subject to a maximum of NLG 5 million. In May OPTA had already imposed a conditional penalty of NLG 1 million, which KPN forfeited. However, the registration procedure is still not working properly. The European Commission views carrier preselection as one of the most important means of boosting competition in the telecommunications market.
OPTA has taken this decision based on information which KPN has supplied itself and complaints received from its competitors and consumers. At the beginning of May OPTA had already imposed a conditional penalty. This failed to produce the required outcome. Complaints continue to be received. The conditional penalty which has now been imposed represents a subsequent step to compel KPN to comply with its legal obligation to offer a carrier preselection service as of 1 January 2000. This will ensure that competition abounds and consumers will have greater choice.
If consumers wish to route their calls (automatically) through one of KPN’s competitors, they will first have to register with a new provider. They then have to call KPN to confirm their preference. KPN uses a voice response system for this purpose. However, this system still appears to be inadequate. For instance, the number of complaints received that it is engaged or requests callers to call back later is simply increasing. In addition, the connection with the computer is sometimes broken while a registration is being processed. Apart from this, it has been noted that in practice some consumers’ calls are still being routed through KPN despite their receipt of written confirmation from the latter to the effect that their registration had been successfully processed.
KPN has confirmed to OPTA that its current voice response registration system for carrier preselection is not working and that it is now looking for alternatives. OPTA feels that it is very important that KPN consult its competitors about this. A number of months ago KPN arranged an alternative registration procedure for the business market in the form of a call centre. Even this registration procedure is not functioning smoothly at present. Although OPTA acknowledges that the difficulties involving carrier preselection are complex, there is no reason why KPN cannot comply with its legal obligations.