News that KPN Mobile is to charge more for certain mobile data services has triggered protests from Dutch consumer groups. The operator said that it will introduce a range of new charges this summer to make up the loss of revenues to free messaging apps and VoIP services.
According to Consumentenbond, the Dutch consumer association, KPN's actions will encourage other operators to follow suit, and make the selection of a mobile subscription even more difficult. "Before consumers take out a subscription, they better make sure that the contract provides access to the Internet services they want," said the organisation, as reported by Telecompaper.
Another Dutch consumer lobbying group, Bits of Freedom, said that there was a danger of operators deciding what consumers had access to on the mobile Web. The group said it was pleased that the majority of Dutch political parties were for an open Internet and against charging for bandwidth-intensive services.
However, KPN seemed unconcerned by this uproar, saying that customers who didn't pay for the services wouldn't be able to access them. "Customers will get a choice between different packages and different service levels," KPN commented to Dutch News.
The company, according to a report carried by OS News, will initially implement charges for services like Skype and WhatsApp, and block access otherwise. For other services, such as Facebook and YouTube, KPN said it would "be talking to customers", which could be interpreted as meaning they'll start charging for these at a later date depending on customers' reactions to the first round of charges.
While T-Mobile Netherlands said it had no comment on the topic until next month, Vodafone NL said it had no intention of following KPN Mobile's direction. The company, according to a report in Wireless Federation, said that it dropped its fair use policy last year to prevent abuse by a few heavy users, and limited customers to 1GB per month. This was, according to Vodafone spokesman Jasper Koek, enough for 95 per cent of its mobile Internet subscribers, who could purchase additional bundles of 1 GB of data if required.
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