The latest Q212 update to BMI’s Netherlands Telecoms Report contains analysis of the latest trends and developments in the telecommunications sector, a regional overview and our forecasts for the mobile, fixed-line and broadband subscriber markets, as well as for mobile monthly blended ARPU. There were two major developments in the Netherlands Telecoms sector in Q212, the announcement of Ziggo’s IPO in February 2012, and the contested mobile termination rate (MTR) glide path between the Netherlands regulator Opta and the European Commission.
Ziggo’s IPO follows an aborted IPO in 2011, when market conditions derailed an IPO and put an end to rumours of a potential acquisition of Ziggo by cable rival UPC. As one of the largest IPOs in Europe for 2012, it is a good indication of the attractiveness of Ziggo and the Netherlands wireline market.
Meanwhile, in February 2012 the European Commission wrote to Opta stating that its fixed and mobile termination rates do not comply with EUregulations. The commission contends that Opta's proposed termination rates are too high and will hit consumer interests and competition. In 2010 Opta proposed a glide path for fixed and mobile termination rates (F/MTRs) that was in line with the commission's 2009 recommendation for direct cost-orientated termination rates. However, Opta's proposed glide path was rejected by the Dutch Corporate Appeals Court, which requested that indirect costs of termination should also be included in Opta's calculations.
By including costs not directly related to call termination, Opta's proposed glide path for termination rates was twice as high as under the Commission's methodology. It is on these grounds that the commission has suspended the implementation of the revised proposal. The case is one of several between national regulators and the commission. This quarter saw only minor changes to our mobile market forecasts as a result of YE11 figures reported by operators coming in slightly lower than our expectations. However our assumptions about the underlying trends impacting the market over the medium term unchanged.
Our new forecast for the mobile market incorporates the latest subscriber data, published by the country’s three largest operators, KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile, for Q411 and regulatory data to the end of September 2011. Our new wireline forecasts incorporate data from Opta, and from leading wireline operators such as KPN, UPC and Zesko Holding (Ziggo), T-Mobile and Tele2. The most recent data from the regulator OPTA for the period to the end of September 2011 show that the Dutch fixed broadband market had over 6.4mn fixed connections, with a further 1.004mn dedicated mobile broadband subscriptions. By the end of 2011, BMI estimates the Netherlands to have almost 7.64mn broadband connections, reflecting full-year growth of 8.5%.
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The Netherlands dropped from third to fifth position in BMI’s Q212 set of Risk/Reward Ratings for Western Europe. The decline was the result of a drop in the Industry Rewards score which was derived from the slowdown in mobile market growth that saw all three mobile network operators report a subscriber loss in Q411. This quarter saw the country’s Telecoms Rating fall from 68.1 to 65.7. The Netherlands continues to score above the regional average in all the categories evaluated by BMI, except Country Rewards.
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