Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom (or Royal KPN) has announced a major overhaul of its mobile networks in the country, under which it aims to renew its infrastructure to cope with future demands for bandwidth hungry services by 2014. A statement from the telco stopped short of providing a concrete figure on the proposed CAPEX investment, but a spokesman for the group said the works involved renewing virtually all of its 3,900 base transceiver stations (BTS) across the country.
The announcement comes hard on the heels of a similar statement from rival cellco Vodafone, the country’s second largest player by subscribers, which last week announced plans to increase its investment in the Netherlands. Vodafone experienced a major fire in its Rotterdam network centre in April this year which damaged its infrastructure and disrupted services for a large number of Vodafone NL users. The unit’s UK parent declined to put a figure on the CAPEX, saying only that it will go in improving network reliability and quality. In 2011 Vodafone NL invested around EUR250 million (USD305 million) in its systems, networks and services. The latest investment will also make it easier for the cellco to migrate to fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, it added.
With smartphone penetration higher in the Netherlands than in other European countries – currently at over 50% – the use of mobile data has mushroomed in the past twelve to 18 months, with voice usage and SMS messages showing a declining trend.