The Dutch fixed telephony market grew subscribers by 0.5 percent during the first quarter of the year, reflecting continued uptake of VoIP. But the market expansion will be unsustainable.
As of March, KPN, Vodafone, XS4ALL and Ziggo counted 6.27 million mass-market (consumer & SOHO) lines, according to Telecompaper’s latest Dutch Fixed Telephony Market report.
The quarterly growth was driven especially by VoIP via DSL which gained 1.3 percent more customers to end Q1 2015 with more than 2 million subscribers.
At the same, VoIP via fiber grew 6.9 percent, as DSL/fiber providers like KPN and its brands Telfort, XS4ALL and Vodafone continued their extensive marketing campaigns for triple play services.
Cable VoIP also grew during the quarter, by 0.5 percent. However, cable operators have started to lose market share, confirming Telecompaper’s analysis that they have reached a saturation point in terms of how many more fixed lines they can sell.
“The decision by cable operator Ziggo to stop offering free on-net calls in 2014 shows it is more focused on growing revenues than the number of connections,” researchers said.
In all, the total VoIP market increased by 1.5 percent to 5.38 million lines. VoIP growth offset the decrease in traditional phone lines: There were 6.7 percent less PSTN/ISDN lines in Q1 and a 3.7 percent drop in WLR connections.
This market won’t be in growth mode for long though. For one, adding VoIP lines doesn’t mean adding revenue. In all, fixed telephony revenue amounted EUR 305 million, the report noted, which shows a decrease of 3.5 percent during the quarter; that figure includes access and usage revenues from PSTN/ISDN/CPS/WLR services, as well as VoIP services via cable, DSL and FTTH networks. It excludes revenues from unmanaged VoIP services like Skype, as well as installation fees and equipment sales.
Also, cable lines have become saturated in the Netherlands, but Telecompaper expects a similar saturation effect to occur for fiber starting in 2015, and DSL starting in 2017.
As a result, it expects the overall fixed telephony market to show a compound annual loss of -0.7 percent over the five-year period 2015-2019.