O2 CR must answer to UOHS over market abuse charge

31 Mar 2011

The Czech Republic’s anti-monopoly office (UOHS) has launched an investigation into allegations that former monopoly incumbent Telefonica O2 Czech Republic is abusing its dominant position in the country’s broadband internet market. UOHS confirmed yesterday that the proceedings are being brought to examine a possible breach of Czech and European law, concerning price squeezing. ‘It deals with the possible abuse of dominant position regarding broadband ADSL internet connections,’ said UOHS spokesperson Petr Rafaj.

Telefonica O2 CR, the country’s biggest telco by subscribers and revenues and 69%-owned by Spanish giant Telefonica, says the case dates back to 2005 and was being opened followed a preliminary investigation, launched in September 2010. Separately, Czech alternative operator Volny has said it is suing the incumbent for damages worth more than CZK4 billion (USD230 million) in the same matter. The altnet, part of Dial Telecom group, says its suit is independent from the anti-monopoly office’s investigation, but that the damages it is seeking also relate to Telefonica O2 CR squeezing margins in the ADSL internet access market. ‘I can confirm we have filed a suit. We had tried to reach a settlement for several years, but it was more of a monologue’, Reuters reports the operator’s business and marketing director Martin Dvorak as saying. Volny is suing for damages for the period 2004-2010, he added.