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Vodafone Dutch Clients Lose Service After Rotterdam Fire

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April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Vodafone Group Plc, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator, said clients in the western part of the Netherlands aren’t receiving service after a fire in a network center in Rotterdam.

Customers in cities including Rotterdam and The Hague, and in Kennemerland, a region around Amsterdam, cannot call or be called, Anniek de Ruijter, a spokeswoman for Vodafone in the Netherlands, said by phone. About 700 transmission towers are out of service after the fire broke out this morning at the Rotterdam site, affecting both mobile and fixed lines, she said. The fire is now out.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience to our customers and ensure you that we’re working fully and comprehensively to solve this problem,” Rob Shuter, chief executive officer of Vodafone in the Netherlands, said in a video message on the company’s website.

The 2G network for phone calls, messaging and machine-to-machine communications, and the 3G network, which supports mobile Internet, are affected and about a quarter of the client base face problems, Vodafone said in a statement. The company expects the 2G network problems will be resolved today.

Potential Solutions

For the 3G network, the problem is more complex, Shuter said. “There are a number of potential solutions we’re working on, including cooperation with” competitors Royal KPN NV and Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile unit.

ING Groep NV, the largest Dutch financial-services company, said in a statement that clients of its local operations using Vodafone may experience problems making payments via SMS messaging and the Internet.

The Dutch Economic Affairs Ministry had trouble with their network, a spokeswoman said by e-mail and NIBC Holding NV, a bank whose owners include J.C. Flowers & Co., issued a press release saying it was experiencing limited availability via fixed and mobile telephone services.

Nobody was hurt in the fire, as there were no people in the building when it started, according to Newbury, England-based Vodafone.

Vodafone’s Dutch mobile-phone market share was about 28 percent last year, compared with 47 percent for Royal KPN NV, according to Telecompaper, a phone research company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maaike Noordhuis in Amsterdam at mnoordhuis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net