KPN is the discount telco of the Netherlands (don’t believe the Hussle)

Rudolf Van Der Berg
May 8 · 8 min read

(8–10 KPN heeft nu een nieuw abbo: Hussel of beter Hussle, want het is vooral duurder. Wat opvallend is, is dat de instapkorting bij KPN compleet veel groter is/was. Ook de dataverdubbelaars voor mobiel zijn weg. Dit kan opgevangen worden met een unlimited abbo en het delen van data. Toch voelt dit als minder handig in vergelijking met je echtgenote een unlimited bellen/20GB aan data abonnement te geven.

Ik heb een paar maanden geleden een spreadsheet analyse gemaakt voor mijn gezin en hier heb ik KPN Hussle aan toegevoegd.
- KPN Hussel is 170 euro duurder dan KPN compleet
- KPN Hussel is even duurder dan Ziggo
- KPN Hussel is 90 euro duurder dan T-Mobile.

Het leek er op dat KPN ook nog extra ging rekenen voor opnemen, maar dat blijkt niet zo te zijn voor mensen die 2 set-top boxen bestellen. Wat wel veranderd zijn de gestegen kosten voor Plus-pakketten en Fox Sports. In mijn geval viel dit mee, omdat mijn behoeften anders zijn, maar Fox Sports liefhebbers zijn hier niet blij mee.

Old Article

In the last week I’ve had the horrible task of figuring out the best telecom options for my family for the coming year. So I loaded up Excel and first had a look at my current expenses €1623 *ouch*. I also had to add a new line item, because my daughter’s turning 10 next week and she gets a mobile phone. That’s an extra subscription. (Dad, my phone needs a fingerprint scanner to protect against my brother)

Dutch telcos these days focus on quad play subscriptions. We have three quad play providers; KPN, T-Mobile and VodafoneZiggo. Tele2 was bought by T-Mobile and its fixed subscription is rubbish. KPN discontinued its low cost brand Telfort per May 1st and it’s going to scrap its premium brand XS4All, though there is a lot of negative PR around it. Nobody cared about Telfort, but there are online petitions and an action group to keep XS4ALL (You have to wonder why KPN would destroy so much value in a premium brand). Vodafone and Ziggo have been married for a while, but still find it hard to project a unified brand. T-Mobile bought Vodafone’s fixed business and now tries to expand it (even launching 33K home FTTH in The Hague with an investment fund). I added a budget brand Online to my excel sheet and local ISP Tweak, who are known to offer proper 1Gbit/s. I set the mobile subscription to two years for comparison value, I might opt for 1 year instead.

KPN doesn’t have a clear advertising strategy. It has warm fuzzy pictures of people sitting on couches. T-Mobile puts itself in the market as the cheap option that is going to save consumers money, because KPN and VodafoneZiggo are raising prices and they won’t. VodafoneZiggo advertises its speed and that they have Max Verstappen (F1) and Game of Thrones. The speed bit is odd as I have FTTH at home, and so KPN and T-Mobile could easily top VodafoneZiggo in the speed section, but they don’t.

I called the big three to see if I could get a better deal from them.In the past operators were willing to give you better deals on the phone than online. Particularly if you threatened to leave. These days it’s like they look at the same screen as you. It’s near impossible to get a better deal. The free speed upgrades of years back are gone, so are free tv-channels for a few months, or extra mobile data. It’s mostly; Computer says no. The deal is mostly in getting quad play. It often doubles mobile data, gets you discounts on mobile subscriptions and discounts of free TV-packages for TV.

Surprising conclusion is that if you want three subscriptions for mobile with quite a bit of data for the adults, its 55 euro roughly. If you only have one TV and don’t want any options or extra’s things can be cheaper, but the moment you run a family, the options start to hurt. The whole spreadsheet is available in Google Docs

KPN — €1341

KPN acts like a budget provider. It has FTTH, but officially its basic offer on FTTH is 100 down and 10 up, like it’s some cheap VDSL. In practice I achieve 40Mbit/s up. So it’s workable. 100/100 is 5 euro extra! 500/500 is €12.5. KPN has a great 4G network, but it offers smaller bundles than the others. For 53 euro I could get 60GB, if I commit to 2 years. It does however include calls to the EU in its unlimited calling offer and data bundles can be used while roaming. It started the quad play craze in the Netherlands and hasn’t changed its offer since; extra tv-pack, 5 euro discount on each mobile subscription, sharing of data between mobile subs, free calling between all numbers on the mobile sub.

The best thing of KPN however turns out to be that it includes 2 STBs for TV in its offer and doesn’t charge extra for recording, delay TV etc. Which some others do and it greatly matters in the price. Oh and it offers a 6 month, 25 euro discount. For some odd reason 4K TV is 10 euro a month extra and gets you 150Mbit/s down and 15Mbit/s up. KPN has Formula 1, but it’s on RTL Television Germany, the bad part of that is there are commercials during the race, the good thing are the commentators who aren’t mindless Max Verstappen fans. Anyway particularly because of discounts here and there it offers a bit less, in GBs and speed, but it delivers it for a significantly lower price too.

VodafoneZiggo — €1488 + 30!

Vodafone and Ziggo still have two different websites despite their marriage. Vodafone offers a very nice mobile package for 3 subscriptions if you combine it with Ziggo’s fixed offer. RED Together is 40GB, but with 3 subscriptions this doubles to 80GB and with fixed included it doubles again to 160GB. In addition it gives discounts on the price and so they quoted me 55 euro a month for 3 subs. Not bad. It does come with a 2 year commitment :-(

Fixed Ziggo offers 250Mbps down and 25Mbps up. They generally can achieve these speeds, though in the evening it might be a bit less. Because of the mobile subscriptions this comes with free HBO series, Formula 1 (in Dutch with lots pro-Max Verstappen commentary) and some other sports. It is 2 euro more expensive than KPN. For the TV upstairs I would need a CI+ module to have all the content there too, which is another 2 euro. Where Ziggo loses points is in the discount it offers. It’s only 15 euro for 6 months. So, a euro here, 2 euro there and it adds up.

Update: While writing this, I had wondered about the yearly price increase of Ziggo. I couldn’t find it for 2019. A few hours after publishing, Ziggo did indeed publish its price increases and added €2.5 to the price! That’s 30 a year and no discounts.

T-Mobile — €1482–60??

How I hate T-Mobile’s website. It is really the toughest to navigate and get all the discounts correct. For example it can’t decide whether to charge €2.5 for phone line or not. Depending on which part of the site you’re in the price is different. (It is included if you look at the total price)

https://thuis.t-mobile.nl/pakketupgrade?fmc=1&pc=1318RN&h1=72&h2=&i=d&t=a&b=a
https://thuis.t-mobile.nl/pakketsamenstellen?pc=1318RN&h1=72

Stuff that is included in other offers, such as STBs, recording and pausing is extra. 5 euro for the second STB and 5 euro per STB for recording and pausing. That’s 15 euro a month extra for two tv’s. There is also a discount with free recording one STB for the duration of your subscription and 15 euro discount for 6 months or 6 months of 20 euro discount, but not discount . If you don’t use excel, you can’t figure out what your monthly payments will be.

Customers have to activate by hand their quad play benefits such as extra speed to get to 100/100mbps and €7.5 discount on channels after registering. Try explaining that to someone not skilled in the art of telco pricing. ;-)

T-Mobile is the only one of the three to offer unlimited data. For my use that’s also the only option as the next best is 12GB, which would suffice for my wife. In total, with the subscription for my daughter it would be €56 for mobile.

Jurriaan Bos of T-Mobile NL mentions I forgot a 60 euro discount for triple play. My apologies, it does prove my point. The site is difficult to interpret.

Tweak — €1674

Tweak is an interesting ISP from Almere, where I live. Their staff has a reputation of being competent. They understand that there is no reason to charge extra for speed. The optics work at 1Gbit/s and so they deliver 1Gbit/s. Unfortunately they are hampered a bit by the costs of their TV product (supplied by Canal Digitaal of the M7 group), particularly because I want the F1 included (RTL Germany) and an extra STB. Also they can’t offer a discount on mobile, such as the quad play guys offer. What makes their offer even more expensive is a 75 euro up front charge. Other operators have similar charges on paper, but waive them either when asked or even up front on their site. I am tempted to go for their offer but in the end it would be 300 euro more expensive to go with them than with KPN …*ouch*

Online — €1653

I thought Online was a budget brand. I quickly found out it’s not. It has the same TV-product as Tweak, but it charges more for it and offers less bandwidth. Its only saving grace is that it doesn’t charge a connection fee and even gives a small discount for the first three months. But really, why bother.

XS4ALL — 1492

Not bad for a premium brand such as XS4ALL. It costs the same as Ziggo and T-Mobile. It charges through the roof for a phone line (5 euro), but makes it up with a discount.

Rudolf Van Der Berg

Written by

Accomplished management consultant with 20 years of experience in Internet, telecom, privacy, online content, standardisation and peripheral topics.

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