Vega files second complaint against Mobitel

20 May 2003

Slovenian GSM network operator Vega, which is backed by Western Wireless International, has filed a second complaint – this time with the Office of Competition Protection – alleging that the country’s largest cellco Mobitel is abusing its dominant market position. In its filing Vega claims that Mobitel, the mobile arm of state-controlled national PTO Telekom Slovenia, is abusing its position by flouting rules on pricing policy. The latest complaint follows a recent petition to the industry regulator the Telecommunications, Broadcasting and Post Agency (ATRP) last month, claiming breaches of Articles 75 and 77 of the country’s Telecoms Act. The company claims in both filings that operators with significant market power (SMP) – and in particular Mobitel – are acting illegally by not formulating their prices on the basis of cost, as the legislation clearly directs. Vega says the ATRP is not enforcing the law and Mobitel is being allowed to set tariffs at below cost for on-net calls (i.e. calls originating and terminating on the same mobile network) in order to retain market share. Vega general director Julien Coustaury is calling for the practice to be banned as it has been in other EU countries. Vega claims Mobitel is in breach of the Competition Limitation Prevention Act that sets boundaries for dominant players; it alleges that the limit of 40% market share set by the law has been far exceeded. The Office now has two months to respond to Vega’s complaint and a ruling must be issued by 16 July 2003.