Belgian telecoms operator BASE said it plans to withdraw from the pay TV market, citing excessive costs and an unfavourable competitive environment.
KPN’s Belgian business will discontinue its SNOW product, which also includes higher-speed broadband, at the end of June 2015.
It blamed the excessive costs associated with being a challenger in the fixed market, “such as content rights and connection costs”.
The move was also motivated by the lack of a “favourable environment for a new entrant into the closed fixed market”, according to the company.
While a signature is enough to switch mobile operator, bank or electricity supplier, BASE argued that switching fixed operator “is still troublesome, making customers reluctant to do so”.
The SNOW service was launched on February 2013, with the idea that consumers would only pay for the services they wanted and could personalise the packages in a flexible way.
Despite initially being well received, the company said it “is currently no longer economically feasible to continue offering this service”. While it has made efforts to make SNOW “a financially healthy product”, BASE said the benefits “do not justify the cost of additional investments”.
The company added that “numerous government measures have had a negative impact on the investment climate in the mobile sector”.
It has become easier for consumers to compare mobile prices and change operator, leading to prices falling by more than 40 per cent in the past few years. Prices in the fixed sector, however, have continued to rise.
BASE now plans to concentrate its investments on mobile communication services and “the new developments and technologies being offered in the market”.
The decision also means that the ProNet&Tel subscription services for businesses will be discontinued. Current customers will receive an offer from Scarlet to transfer to a similar offer for free, including free installation and activation.
BASE will continue to support the more basic BASE Home Pack and Home Internet services.
It added that it will support a regulatory framework in the fixed market that is similar to that of the mobile sector, promoting “fair competition in the interests of the customer”.
BASE’s decision is in stark contrast to a number of major European operators which see quadplay as a key future strategy. BASE’s domestic rival Proximus (Belgacom) has a full quadplay offering while the other Belgian player, Mobistar, announced this week that it is testing fixed internet and pay-TV services, adding to its fixed and mobile telephony services.