The telecommunications markets in The Netherlands are influenced both by liberalization, particularly as a consequence of EU legislation, and technological developments. This has led to an almost continuous review of the regulatory regime. Currently, the national telecommunication organisation, Koninklijke PTT Nederland N.V. ("KPN"), still has in principle the exclusive right to install and operate a fixed telecommunications network. It also has the exclusive right to provide certain services via this network, such as public fixed switched voice telephony and the supply of leased lines. However, third parties may via leased lines supply fixed data services and voice services which are not considered to be 'voice telephony' within the sense of EU Commission Directive 90/388.
As of September 1994, the possibility of competition in the field of both mobile infrastructure and services is introduced. A licensing system for mobile telecommunications, using new digital pan European technologies, such as GSM, DCS 1800 en ERMES, has been introduced. Next to KPN, a second national license for the installation and operation of a GSM network has been granted after a tender. Tender procedures for DCS 1800 and ERMES are expected in the course of next year.
With regard to the fixed network, legislation introducing competition in both the field of services (except voice telephony) and supply of infrastructure is pending before Parliament. The current draft bill proposes to grant one national license and several licenses with a territorial restriction to install and to operate fixed infrastructure. The intention is to grant the national license to a consortium of CTV networks permitholders and permitholders for fixed networks, including in particular the electricity companies and the Dutch railways. However, this consortium recently collapsed. It is now expected that the draft bill will be changed to the extent that more national licenses may be granted. The licensees will be entitled to provide all unrestricted services, except reserved voice telephony, or to allow operators to use their network for these services.
It is expected that public switched voice telephony will be liberalised at or prior to January 1, 1998.
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