Broadband services

Vodafone Sues KPN for Fixed-Line Abuse

Vodafone Netherlands is suing KPN for preliminary damages of €115 million ($126 million), claiming that anti-competitive behavior by the Dutch incumbent delayed its introduction of fixed-line and TV offerings by three years.

Vodafone Netherlands says it was unable to obtain access to KPN's fixed-line network to launch its Vodafone Thuis service, which was finally introduced last year.

During that time KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) launched its own package of fixed, broadband, mobile and TV services. Vodafone insists this was a crucial period for adoption of "all-in-one" packages -- with more than 100,000 households adopting those services -- and that it lost out significantly as a result.

"KPN has repeatedly failed to deliver on its commitments and has instead seriously abused its dominant position," said Rob Shuter, the CEO of Vodafone Netherlands, in a company statement. "This is bad for consumers, bad for the development of the Dutch telecom market and bad for competition."

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The dispute reflects long-running concern in Europe about the ability of alternative "asset-light" operators to compete against former state-owned incumbents, which is driving some players to acquire their own networks.

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has taken similar action against eir in Ireland, Telefónica O2 Czech Republic in the Czech Republic and Telecom Italia (TIM) in Italy.

It has also complained about the dominance of the UK's BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which is set to become an even more powerful rival following a £12.5 billion ($19 billion) takeover of mobile giant EE . (See BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal.)

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

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