Dutch incumbent doesn't rule out total network handover

February 17, 2010

2 Min Read
MWC 2010: Will KPN Go All the Way?

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress -- Is any traditional telecom incumbent operator ready to cut itself loose of all its network management and operations, and focus only on service creation, service delivery, customer relationships, and marketing?

It would be a momentous shift, of course, to outsource all network issues to a third party, such as a large infrastructure vendor with tens of thousands of professional services staff, but it's one that could be undertaken by Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), which has fixed and mobile operations in the Netherlands and the neighbouring markets of Belgium and Germany. (See KPN Sticks With IPTV for Its FTTx Future and KPN Closes Year.)

Speaking at an Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) press conference here in Barcelona on Tuesday, KPN CTO Damir Hajdarovic said the operator is working with AlcaLu's Bell Labs on a network and business transformation program, with a focus on three main challenges: technology development and deployment; the transformation to new services and applications; and the introduction of new business models. (See AlcaLu Scores KPN, China Telecom.)

So Light Reading wondered whether this transformation program could, ultimately, result in the complete outsourcing of all KPN's networks to a third party? Hajdarovic didn't say it would, but he also didn't say it wouldn't. "It's an option," he conceded.

Could KPN become the first incumbent "hollow operator"? (See Network Operators: Hollow Be Thy Name and The Substance of 'Hollow Operators'.)

Well, someone has to be first... And if it's KPN, then Alcatel-Lucent will clearly fancy its chances of being the managed service provider, especially as it's already running KPN's mobile networks in Belgium and Germany. (See E-Plus Extends With AlcaLu and AlcaLu Answers Outsourcing Critics.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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