Almost one third of mobile subscribers in the Netherlands are customers of virtual operators, according to a report published this week by Dutch analyst house Telecom Paper. The total number of MVNO subs in the market has now hit 6.6 million, or 32.8 per cent of the total subscriber base, the analyst said.
More than half of the virtual brand customers—56.4 per cent—are on MVNOs owned by the market’s mobile operators, which are gaining share. Telecom Paper said that 13.7 per cent of the total Dutch mobile market are customers of independent MVNOs, down 1.3 per cent on Q3 2010.
At the end of the first quarter of 2011 there were 56 MVNOs operating in the Netherlands, although 11 of these control the majority of the market. This number has remained the same since Q3 last year, although there remains movement in the market, with several players exiting and others taking their place since that point.
“Hi and Telfort are the leaders of the operator-owned brands and Lebara and Lycamobile of the independent MVNO brands,” the analyst firm said in a statement. “In terms of network operator usage, KPN continues to lead, although it has lost some share. Both Vodafone and T-Mobile increased market share, with T-Mobile growing the most due to its acquisition of Simpel and growth at Ben.”
Telecom Paper said that new entrants will need to innovate on service proposition and by finding niche markets, such as immigrant populations. “New players will have to differentiate themselves by offering real value-added services, and not just plain voice and SMS services, in order to survive,’’ said Alejandra van de Roer, senior analyst at Telecompaper and co-author of the report.