KPN May Beat Mid-2014 Dutch 4G Mobile-Network Coverage Deadline

Royal KPN NV, the Dutch phone operator partly owned by Carlos Slim’s America Movil SAB, may complete its domestic 4G, or fourth generation, high-speed wireless network sooner than its original target.

“We are on schedule and getting to 50 percent coverage and if we can get to 100 percent before the summer next year, I won’t hesitate to do it,” Joost Farwerck, managing director of KPN Netherlands, told Bloomberg at an event in Rotterdam today. “It makes sense to keep up the pace as there’s demand, and customers are really excited about 4G.”

To stay ahead of the competition, The Hague-based KPN began its Dutch rollout in the first quarter after paying 1.35 billion euros ($1.7 billion) in December to buy frequencies to serve consumers seeking faster mobile networks as they use smartphones to surf the Web, download music and watch videos.

KPN raised about 3 billion euros through a share sale to invest in operations and reduce debt. The company has scrapped dividends planned for 2013 and 2014 and originally said it would complete its Dutch 4G network by the summer of 2014.

“We paid much more than we had hoped for, but given this is for 17 years and the billions of euros that are involved in this business, I think investors understand that,” Farwerck said.

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