Friday, December 16, 2011

KPN is reversing its position versus the OTT market

A very disappointing turn of events is taking place at KPN. KPN has been a champion of the European incumbents for a long time, with an open view to the realities of the over-the-top market and open access networks.

Ad Scheepbouwer himself developed in a very positive way, during his 10 years at KPN. Back in 2003, he was quoted saying that companies such as Tele2 are "like parasites on our network". However, in his last days as CEO of KPN, Ad Scheepbouwer was quoted as follows:
Meanwhile, Scheepbouwer is dismissive of suggestions from rivals, such as Telefonica's CEO Cesar Alierta and Vodafone Group PLC's CEO Vittoria Collao that the biggest generators of network traffic, such as Google Inc., should pay for the benefit of reaping a huge amount of revenue from infrastructure in which they have invested. "The Internet is open and free for all to use and the solution isn't to start charging Google money. Then we should have invented Google ourselves."
(Total Telecom, April 5, 2011).

We thought that the A.T. Kearney report (for DT, FT, Telefonica, TI) claiming the opposite of what Scheepbouwer was saying, had been thoroughly buried by now, by Communication Chambers, Plum Consulting, and over here as well. In October, at a Fiber Summit in Amsterdam, Alcatel-Lucent's Ben Verwaayen left no doubt about where his company stands in this discussion: it is firmly behind DT, FT, Telefonica and TI. And we all know where Alcatel-Lucent, and its CEO, are going.

The turn of events at KPN is not only disappointing , but also points to conflicting views within the KPN management. The current director of Wholesale & Operations dismissed the concept of Google et al contributing only a week ago. When an Alcatel-Lucent worker (!) asked him how he planned to start charging Google et al, he replied: 'we want to join in, ring fencing is pointless', which seemed to suggest that he is firmly on Scheepbouwer's side.

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