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."
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.
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, , News Editor, Light Reading