KPN and Nimbuzz: A Tale Of Two Companies

KPN and NimbuzzWhile Mexican operator America Movil has announced plans to launch a full takeover bid for KPN, privately held Dutch Nimbuzz could be about to become an Indian mobile operator.

The two companies could not be more different, although both facilitate communications. KPN’s heritage dates back a hundred years at least. KPN owns (essential) network infrastructure and enjoys a sizeable chunk of renewable revenue. On the down side, there is little growth perspective and KPN is exclusively active in saturated European telecoms markets such as The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

Nimbuzz, on the other hand, is a startup with no network infrastructure and offers most of its services for free (check out our take on how OTT players are monetizing their business model here). On the other hand it has solid growth perspectives and is active in high growth markets such as India.

Plenty has been said about the consequences of America Movil’s bid for KPN’s mobile and fixed play already, here’s a good overview of what could happen. Less has been said about the consequences for KPN’s CloudNL, part of KPN IT solutions, which is being branded as a Dutch cloud, managed from the Netherlands, located in Dutch datacenters and compliant with Dutch laws. Mexican ownership of KPN could throw a spanner in the branding works here, especially now we know that Mexico (+ Canada) is part of the NSA’s US homeland definition. And while we believe Mexican ownership will not make CloudNL any less compliant with Dutch law, it does go to show that branding a national ownership image can be a dangerous thing if it cannot be controlled.

Back to Nimbuzz. While legally still a Dutch BV, the company has moved its HQ to India where much of its 100 million+ users are located. Nimbuzz competes with the likes of Whatsapp (300 million users) and Wechat (100 million users). Now that the Indian government recently announced its intentions to amend legislation that essentially ban VoIP services, the time is right for Nimbuzz to start offering telco services and become an Indian mobile operator.

What goes around, comes around.

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About Pim Bilderbeek