Eurobites: KPN's Youfone deal comes under the microscope

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BREKO slams EU's Gigabit Infrastructure Act; Apple issues software update to get round radiation issue; UK broadband speeds surge.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

September 15, 2023

3 Min Read
A KPN worker talking on the phone and standing in front of a KPN branded car
(Source: KPN)

  • KPN's acquisition of much smaller rival Youfone is set for further scrutiny by ACM, the Dutch competition regulator, after the regulator decided that the €200 million (US$220 million) deal could "result in a loss of significant competitive pressure in the budget or no-frills segment of the market," which could in turn lead to higher prices and/or reduced choice for consumers. Youfone already uses KPN's mobile network, but it could in theory also use the networks of Odido or Vodafone Ziggo which, claims ACM, may boost its bargaining position in negotiations with KPN about the use of its network, thus keeping Youfone's prices lower and exerting price pressure on its rivals. This leverage would obviously be lost if it was bought by KPN. Youfone, which lays claim to 540,000 Dutch customers, encompasses several telecom brands, XS4ALL, Solcon and Simyo among them.

  • There's disgruntlement at BREKO, the German broadband association, which believes that the EU's imminent Gigabit Infrastructure Act jeopardizes Germany's fiber rollout, as it incentivizes the "strategic duplication" of fiber networks, thereby making it less likely that the government's rollout targets will be met. It calls on the lawmakers to reject the current draft of the Act next week and improve four crucial aspects of it relating to the shared use of physical infrastructures, pricing, transparency and the legal form of the Act.

  • Apple is to issue a software update for users of its iPhone 12 in France that it hopes will allow it to keep the phone on sale there, after French regulators ordered that the device should be removed from sale as it breached EU limits on radiation exposure. As Reuters reports, Belgium also plans to examine potential health risks posed by the iPhone 12. Apple previously maintained that the phone had been certified by numerous international bodies as complying with global radiation standards.

  • New research from Vodafone has found that the UK's National Health Service stands to lose out on £1 billion ($1.2 billion) of potential savings every year if 5G isn't rolled out quickly across the country. 5G, says Vodafone, would enable more patient care to be carried out remotely by providing high-speed and high-quality video connections. The savings calculations are largely based on figures from the Liverpool 5G testbed. The research, of course, is a handy hook on which Vodafone can extol the potential benefits of its proposed merger with rival UK operator Three.

  • The only way is up for broadband speeds in the UK, according to the latest update from communications regulator Ofcom. The average download speed for home broadband was 69.4 Mbit/s in March 2023, a 17% increase year-over-year, as bandwidth-hungry Brits upgrade to higher-bandwidth services, including full-fiber connections. The proportion of lines receiving a 24-hour average download speed of at least 30 Mbit/s was 88% in March 2023, up from 83% in March 2022. Three percent of connections had an average 24-hour actual download speed of less than 10 Mbit/s in 2023, down from 4% in 2022. On the upload front, average speeds rose to 18.4 Mbit/s in March 2023, a year-over-year increase of 7.8 Mbit/s.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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