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Crossmedia, Social, Mobile, Business Modeling, Marketing, Research and insights

Netherlands: charges on services as Whatsapp, no charges, and then again, charges. What about the end user?

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Last Tuesday, secretary of state Verhagen (economic affairs) decided that carriers may not charge consumers for the use of certain Internet services on their mobile phones. Originally, the purpose for these charges was that it would guarantee ‘net neutrality’. Effectively, this means that consumers would not be allowed to decide what Internet services to use or not use.

Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported May 25 that KPN, Netherlands biggest mobile carrier will continue to develop ways of charging extra costs for the use of free phone and SMS services such as SkypeWhatsapp and Viber.
Apparently this report caused a riot in the delicate political arena in The Hague. PVV, Netherlands’s right wing majority-granting party (were said to be furious about the cabinet’s point of view. They say KPN should be stopped in their endeavors to develop extra charge systems. Alas, I agree but for complete different reasons; for me free is free. Period and regardless of any form of political absurdities. I truly dislike PVV’s ideas).

According to Valery Feltmann, “Mobile communications and next generation wireless networks emerge as new distribution channels for the media. This development offers exciting new opportunities for media companies: the mobile communication system creates new usage contexts for media content and services; the social use of mobile communications suggests that identity representation in social networks, impulsive access to trusted media brands, and micro-coordination emerge as new sources of value creation in the media industries. In the light of this background there are two different viewpoints on the development of mobile media: from a competitive strategy point of view it analyzes the extension of cross-media strategies and the emergence of cross-network strategies; from a public policy point of view it develops demands and requirements for an innovation policy that fosters innovation in mobile media markets.”

Good and great and highly relevant. I would like to recommend the Dutch carriers and politicians in particular Feltmann’s important study from which the previous was quoted.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of KPN stated that all was based on a misunderstanding: “KPN will continue to develop new forms of subscription that are planned for this summer. The Hague’s decisions will be taken into account”, for what it’s worth. One may think of more expensive Internet subscriptions in which data limits are regulated. And as Skype uses a lot of data, the subscription will be more expensive.
KPN is looking for extra income as people telephone and SMS significantly less. For the reason of less income, KPN will headcount four to five thousand jobs soon. Apparently VodaFone, Holland’s number two or three is contemplating new ways of making money and T-Mobile has no plans for Internet charges on specific services.


Written by Kees Winkel

May 26, 2011 at 11:24

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