KPN kickstarts major overhaul of Dutch network

KPN said it plans to upgrade nearly all of its base stations in the Netherlands as part of an effort to cope with an upsurge in mobile data traffic.

The company said that the work will involve replacing almost all of its 3,900 existing base stations by 2014. KPN has declined to detail the capital investment this huge programme will require, but adds that the project is in line with the company's capital expenditure planning, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Netherlands has the highest penetration of smartphones in Europe, currently over 50 per cent, with a corresponding growth in mobile data usage over the past twelve to 18 months, according to Telegeography, with voice minutes and text messages showing a declining trend.

The announcement by KPN to overhaul is domestic network comes only days after Vodafone said it would accelerate investment in its Dutch mobile network. The UK-based company said this renewal programme was made more necessary following the fire at its Rotterdam network centre which destroyed parts of its infrastructure in April.

Vodafone has also declined to reveal the Capex involved with this upgrade plan, but it seems that the work will make the network capable of being LTE-ready.

Separately, one of KPN's major investors, Capital Research & Management, has cut its holding to below the 5 per cent threshold, according to the Dutch financial regulator. In January the company held a 15.11 per cent stake in KPN, according to a MarketWatch report.

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this Telegeography article
- see this MarketWatch article

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