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More opportunities for competition in the telecommunications sector

KPN will improve the opportunities for telecommunications service providers to obtain access to its fixed network. This new impetus for competition in the telecommunications market will provide consumers with greater choice. OPTA will have less need to regulate KPN’s telephone charges as a result. As such, OPTA is anticipating new European legislation. This is clear from the paper, Comprehensive Tariff Regulation [Integraal Tarief Toezicht], which OPTA published today.

OPTA’s regulation of telephone tariffs has led to greater social and economic prosperity in the Netherlands (see the annual report and outlook for the market, which will be published on 1 May 2002). Now the choice available to consumers needs to be increased further (local calls can still only be made through KPN). In the next four years OPTA will safeguard consumers’ interests by stipulating that telephone charges may not increase by more than the rate of inflation.

European legislation which is scheduled to come into effect by no later than July 2003 stipulates how telephone charges must be regulated in the years ahead. As far as possible, the regulatory authorities are required to focus on those wholesale services which the former monopolist’s competitors procure from it. If these wholesale services are widely available at a reasonable price, these competitors will also be able to present attractive offers to end users. OPTA is already anticipating this new European legislation now. In recent weeks it has itemised the most important problems which still exist with regard to wholesale telephone services. KPN has undertaken to resolve these difficulties within the near future.