Conclusr warns that Vodafone, Liberty Dutch JV will lure business customers from KPN, raise prices

A planned joint venture between Vodafone Netherlands and Ziggo may attract business customers away from market leader KPN, according to a survey conducted by Dutch research company Conclusr.

Vodafone and Ziggo owner Liberty Global said last month that they intend to combine their respective mobile and cable forces in the Dutch market. This will allow them to offer converged bundles of communications services that will be able to better battle domestic rivals including KPN.

Conclusr spoke to 343 ICT managers at large and small businesses in the Netherlands, resulting in two major findings.

Firstly, businesses that are already customers of Vodafone or Ziggo may consider taking the other provider's service once the joint venture is in place. Out of Vodafone's mobile customers, 17 per cent are likely to start taking Ziggo data services, and out of Ziggo's cable customers, 21 per cent would turn to the joint venture for mobile services.

Very few would leave their current provider if the combined operation enters the market -- none at all out of Vodafone's business customer base, and just 3 per cent of Ziggo's customers. The joint venture would probably also pick up customers from other players such as T-Mobile and Tele2.

However, Conclusr also noted that the resulting concentration in the Dutch market would likely lead to a duopoly situation, eliminating the choice for business data between Vodafone and Ziggo. This would probably mean higher prices in the country's business market.

"We think that in this sort of market it's easier to get a total package with one supplier, [so] these two parties will dominate the market," Ton Ketelaars, CEO of Conclusr Research, told FierceWireless:Europe.

"That would be a reason for us that the EU or Dutch authorities should say this is not a good development."

Vodafone is very much trying to push for convergence in the various European markets in which it operates. It bought Kabel Deutschland in 2013 in order to provide bundled services in Germany.

Liberty and Vodafone were previously considering a Europe-wide asset-swap deal, but talks on this path fell through in September. The companies subsequently opted to focus on convergence in the Dutch market.

For more:
- see this Conclusr Group report

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