ACM finds sufficient competition in multi-play market

Monday 17 July 2017 | 10:35 CET | News
The increased focus on multi-play packages is not limiting competition in the Dutch market, according to a report from the regulator ACM. Providers are improving their bundles of fixed and mobile services with services such as exclusive content, making them attractive for customers. This has not resulted in competition problems, the regulator concluded. 

The growing dominance of multi-play plans does carry risks, both for consumers and providers. Consumers taking a bundled package are less likely to change provider, often due to cost savings or extras compared to buying separate services. It's also more difficult to compare providers and offers due to the ever-growing number of elements in the plans. 

If operators keep adding more exclusive content to the plans, this could also limit churn. Certain series or channels are only available with a single provider. The bundles may also become more expensive as the extra programming costs are passed on to customers. 

Only KPN and VodafoneZiggo own both fixed and mobile networks, and smaller providers must buy in access to KPN's access in order to offer a complete package of services. They have fewer customers and are less able to spread the risk across different operations. This may cause problems for them and could lead to their disappearance from the market.

For consumers, the benefits of bundling services appear greater than the disadvantages. However, the ACM said it will focus on ensuring that it doesn't become more difficult to compare packages or change providers. The regulator wants to ensure enough choice remains in the market and not just expensive TV packages are offered. 

Healthy competition also means there still needs to be small providers with sharp prices, the ACM said. It's currently conducting a telecom market review that may lead to measures to support competition between large and small players. The aim is to ensure that small providers remain part of the market and consumers continue to benefit from multiple providers, sharp prices, sufficient choice and extra services. 

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