Dutch mobile market counts cost of COVID-19

A new report has highlighted the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mobile operators in the Netherlands, with mobile service revenue now expected to fall by 4.3% to €3.6 billion (US$4.28 billion) in 2020.

According to the Dutch Mobile Operators report from Telecompaper, the decline in mobile service revenues accelerated in the second quarter to a 4.5% year-on-year fall to €886 million ($1 billion).

Hard cheese: Thanks to COVID-19, the Dutch mobile market has seen dips.  (Source: OXLAEY.com on Flickr CC 2.0)
Hard cheese: Thanks to COVID-19, the Dutch mobile market has seen dips.
(Source: OXLAEY.com on Flickr CC 2.0)

Like operators in other European markets, Dutch service providers have been adversely affected by factors like a reduction in roaming revenue, shop closures and pressure on business customers during the health crisis.

The report expects the situation on the B2B market to remain difficult in the coming months, and anticipates a stronger focus by operators on fixed-mobile convergence packages to help limit customer churn.

Mixing it up
A glance at the individual financial reports for the second quarter also reveals a somewhat mixed picture.

T-Mobile Netherlands, for example, reported a 2.3% increase in mobile revenue to €268 million ($318 million), and a 4.8% rise in overall revenue to €480 million ($571 million).

VodafoneZiggo, on the other hand, said consumer mobile revenue fell 1% in Q2 to €210 million ($249 million), while B2B mobile revenue fell by a whopping 12.3% to €117 million ($139 million).

KPN reported a 4.9%, or 3% excluding divestments, decline in overall Q2 revenue to €1.29 billion ($1.5 billion). Consumer mobile revenue alone fell by 7% year-on-year to €229 million ($272 million). Total B2B communications service revenue fell by 14%, or 12% excluding divestments, to €278 million ($330 million).

Splash the cash
Also worth noting is that the three operators recently shelled out a combined €1.23 billion (US$1.42 billion) for 700MHz, 1400MHz and 2100MHz spectrum, with 3.5GHz airwaves not expected to be available until 2022.

Want to know more about 5G? Check out our dedicated 5G content channel here on Light Reading.

In April 2020, VodafoneZiggo launched the first commercial 5G network in the Netherlands, helped by Ericsson's dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) technology that enables the operator to use existing 4G antennas and frequencies in the 1800MHz band.

T-Mobile Netherlands and KPN then both launched 5G services in July, days after the frequency auction was completed.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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