According to local reports, the decision is a major blow to the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), which in September 2018 announced that following a market analysis had concluded that the two companies had to each grant other providers access to their networks with effect from October 1, 2018.
Speaking at that time, ACM board member Henk Don said that the two companies enjoyed a dominant position on the market and could tacitly collude to use that position.
While other providers without fixed networks of their own only had access to KPN’s network, following the change they would also be able to offer their broadband, TV and fixed telephony services over VodafoneZiggo’s fixed cable network.
ACM insisted that for KPN the rules were less strict than before. For example, in geographic areas with fibre-optic, KPN was allowed to phase out access to its copper network. ACM attached several conditions to this phase-out to make sure that other providers that use KPN’s network were able to continue to compete.
According to AD.nl, KPN and VodafoneZiggo are the only telcos in the Netherlands with a fixed and mobile network covering the entire country. Although ACM wanted to impose strict rules on the two companies, it was hindered by the fact that EU rules usually address markets with one major dominant, formerly state-owned player.
It adds that following CBb’s decision, not only does ACM’s ruling from 2018 no longer apply to VodafoneZiggo, but in the case of KPN previous rules imposed on the telco in recent years also do not apply.
ACM has said it is disappointed with CBb’s decision and is studying its implications.