The Netherlands: A Market In Flux

The Netherlands: A Market In Flux

Since the start of 2023, the Dutch telecom market has been one of the most active in the world, with both mobile and broadband providers making major changes to their flagship plans. The direction of these pricing changes, however, have not been consistent from provider to provider, indicating that the largest Dutch telcos are pursuing conflicting strategies and identifying different market opportunities.

These moves include:

  • On 9 January, T-Mobile Netherlands raised the monthly prices on its 3GB, 10GB and 20GB postpaid plans by EUR 1.50 to 2.50 (US $1.63 to $2.72). Then, several weeks later, it raised the price again of its 10GB plans by another EUR 1.00 (US $1.09).
  • Going in the opposite direction, Vodafone Netherlands lowered the monthly prices of three of its postpaid plans by EUR 1.00 to 1.50 (US $1.09 to $1.63).
  • Tele2 Netherlands appears to be pursuing both of these strategies simultaneously, since the provider raised the monthly price on its 10GB bundle by EUR 1.50 (US $1.63), while it lowered the monthly price of its 20GB bundle by EUR 2.00 (US $2.18).
  • In the fixed broadband market, KPN lowered its prices for several of its home internet plans by a range of EUR 2.00 to 6.50 (US $2.18 to $7.07) per month.

Tarifica’s Take

As 2023 begins, telcos are confronted with a hard-to-read environment abundant with conflicting indicators and escalating pressures.

These include ever-changing inflation expectations, concerns for an impending recession, the need to recoup investments from the build-out of 5G networks, the growing perception of FWA as a true alternative to home broadband, the increasing commoditization of mobile data, and much more. A shift at the edges of any of these factors can dramatically change expectations – opening doors for early leaders and leaving laggards scrambling to catch up. In the face of these realities, it is not surprising that operators are struggling to determine whether it is wise to invest in subscriber growth, prioritize expanding margins, or work to develop adjacent product lines.

While the Netherlands demonstrates an extreme example in the response to these pressures, the underlying forces are present across markets globally. As the year progresses, we expect to see many operators working to adjust their pricing and offerings to stay ahead of these challenges.