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Vodafone Sues KPN Over Alleged Market Abuses

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Vodafone Netherlands says that it has commenced legal action against the incumbent telecoms operator in the Netherlands, KPN, alleging anti competitive behaviour in the Dutch convergent communications market.

Vodafone Netherlands claims that KPN delayed by three years the nationwide introduction of Vodafone's competing TV, fixed-line broadband and fixed-line telephone proposition, Vodafone Thuis, by failing repeatedly to meet its commitments to deliver the technology needed.

The former state telecoms monopoly KPN owns and operates the Netherlands' only nationwide telephone network - using copper lines to connect households and businesses across the country - as well as the country's largest fibre-optic network. Other operators without the benefits of this nationwide fixed-line infrastructure must rely on KPN's network in order to compete.

The alleged delays resulted in Vodafone Netherlands being unable to compete effectively with KPN (and cable providers) in the Dutch telecoms market until 2014.

Vodafone claims that KPN's refusal to supply Vodafone Netherlands qualifies as abuse of a dominant market position and resulted in an estimated EUR115 million in damages for Vodafone Netherlands.

The Chief Executive of Vodafone Netherlands Rob Shuter said: "Markets cannot function without effective competition. Our challenge is that Vodafone relies on its biggest competitor - the incumbent operator - as a supplier in order to provide Dutch consumers with a competitive choice. KPN has repeatedly failed to deliver on its commitments and has instead seriously abused its dominant position. This is bad for consumers, bad for the development of the Dutch telecoms markets and bad for competition. We hope that taking this legal action will help to rectify the harm caused by KPN's actions and alter its future behaviour."

Vodafone Netherlands has lodged its claim with the court of justice in The Hague and asks initially for the court to confirm the unlawful behaviour of KPN.

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Tags: vodafone  kpn  Netherlands