KPN closes payphone infrastructure

The Dutch incumbent KPN is to shut down its public payphones network, citing the ubiquity of mobile phones among consumers and the ongoing cost of maintaining the loss-making infrastructure. As an alternative, communities which want to retain their payphones can petition RBL Telecom which has announced its willingness to step into the breach, commercial considerations allowing. Under the terms of its Universal Service licence, supplemented by local council laws, KPN was obliged to provide payphones proportional to the population until 2008. Since the obligation ended the company has removed booths across the country. The paucity of booths has become a feature of streetscapes across Europe, principally the result of near-universal mobile connectivity. Public events, such as concerts and festivals, would have had banks of payphones set up by telcos several years ago for public use – now such an effort would be inconceivable.

For more information on the Dutch telecom market, see the relevant Netherlands reports.

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