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January 19, 1989


By CBR Staff Writer

The liberalisation of the Dutch PTT on January 1 1989, the first time a state monopoly of telecommunications has been broken in mainland Europe, has sparked of the expected race among foreign companies to win their own slice of the lucrative Dutch market. The most intense competition will take place in the Dutch PABX market, the fourth largest in Europe; according to a PTT Nederland NV spokesman, Philips NV, AT&T Co, Ericsson Telecommunications Ltd, Siemens and Alcatel have all expressed a definite interest in supplying PABXs, while GEC Plessey Telecommunications claimed to be the first non-Dutch company to win PABX approval for the Netherlands telecommunications market with its ISDX system (CI No 1,080). The PTT has lost its monopoly over the provision of posts and telecommunications services, and the supply of PABX systems and telephone sets; the telecommunications legislation continued the company’s monopoly over the choice and operation of central exchanges and transmission equipment, and precludes any other companies operating a rival telephone network on the lines of Mercury Communications in the UK. The company has said that it will adopt a greater customer-orientation to suit the needs of a commercial environment, and has pledged that new domestic and business telephone lines will be connected within 14 working days, as opposed to a 40 day period before liberalisation. The company adds that it will face increased pressure to produce faster and more efficient services. The PTT has reorganised itself into what it calls a matrix model, made up of 13 geographical districts and five business units, covering telematic systems, international telecommunications, private markets, business markets and networking operations. The company is looking to the international arena for much of its future growth, and hopes to forge agreements with major foreign companies for this end; it is working with Mercury Communications to link the UK and Netherlands with a fibre connection and the AT&T-Philips joint venture, AT&T Network Systems International, already supplies in excess of 60% of the company’s new requirements for public telephone exchanges. A PTT Nederland official has said that negotiations are at an advanced stage with AT&T Co, Nynex and British Telecommunications Plc; these are thought to cover international value added services and networks. AT&T hasn’t ruled out talks over advanced data networks such as Accunet, which could result in the linking of the service with Managed Data Network Services, the one-stop shopping agency for Europe-wide packet switching, to be based in the Netherlands; talks may also involve Account Management Plus, launched in December. The decision to liberalise the PTT met with little opposition; while the government still holds all the shares, new chairman Wim Dik has indicated he would like to float the firm in five years. Other new appointees include Ben Verwaayen, former Alcatel chief operating officer, as general director, who has said that PTT Nederland plans to invest a total of $1,750m this year.

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