Mobistar suspends marketing of its fixed products on the residential market, while awaiting more favourable regulation
The marketing of Internet, fixed telephony and TV services for the residential market will be suspended as of 22 May 2013. Mobistar will, however, ensure the continuity of Internet and fixed telephony services for existing residential customers.
The services of Mobistar TV will cease on September 15th. All of the customers affected by the discontinuation of Mobistar TV will be personally contacted between now and the end of May in order to provide them with more information about an alternative satellite TV solution negotiated by Mobistar with TéléSAT and TV Vlaanderen, the leading players in Belgium for providing television by satellite, on the basis of a preferential offer.
Despite substantial investments in recent years, Mobistar has been compelled to recognise that the Belgian residential fixed market suffers from a lack of competition and that it is therefore no longer possible to profitably offer fixed services to residential customers. Moreover, Mobistar is the last significant operator to use the regulated offer of the historical operator in the residential market.
Mobistar regrets the lack of reciprocity of conditions for competition between the fixed and mobile markets in Belgium. While competition is very significant on the mobile market, as shown by the presence of over 40 players on this market, many signs demonstrate that the Belgian residential fixed market is in fact a closed market, dominated by a historical operator-cable operators duopoly. The rate study performed recently by the BIPT at the request of Minister Vande Lanotte highlighted that the cost of “triple play” offers in Belgium is particularly high compared to their cost in neighbouring countries.
“The fixed rates are regularly ´indexed´ by the historical operator, while in the mobile market each year one sees a reduction in rates of more than 10 %, with an acceleration in recent months”, emphasises Mobistar CEO Jean-Marc Harion. “The Belgian market needs a framework that makes it possible to guarantee healthy competition and which does not favour the historical operators. It isn´t normal to see the market share of the alternative operators in Belgium stagnating at a mere 7 %, while that figure exceeds 50 % in neighbouring countries.”
Mobistar also reconfirms its ambition to be a leading player for convergent services, on both the business and residential markets.
Mobistar has made the deployment of the 4G network a priority: as was the case for GSM in its beginnings and later for 3G, Mobistar wishes to play a pioneering role by making the most innovative technologies accessible to the greatest number. “We wish to offer our customers the highest-performance communication services and the best connectivity at all times, whether they find themselves in a mobility situation or at home”, says Jean-Marc Harion. In this perspective, Mobistar believes that the opening of the cable becomes the best option for offering a high-speed connection to Belgian consumers without requiring them to purchase a “pack”, not all of whose components they find useful.
Mobistar welcomes the regulator’s recent advances with regard to opening up cable. These advances demonstrate that regulation of cable is henceforth inevitable in Belgium. But while these first steps are promising, they still aren’t enough. Mobistar calls on the regulator to continue the reform in order to ensure that the fixed and mobile markets are open under equivalent conditions. In particular, the regulator will have to impose simple processes on the cable operators, as well as wholesale rates that are sufficiently attractive to at last permit the alternative operators to launch innovative and competitive convergent fixed offers on the Belgian market.
For the business market, Mobistar reconfirms its ambition to be a leading player for convergent services to companies. Capitalising on the assets of Mobistar Enterprise Services (former KPN Belgium Business acquired in 2010), Mobistar is accelerating its investments to enrich its portfolio of fixed and mobile convergent IP solutions for all types of companies.
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