UOKiK issues PLN113.7 million in anti-trust fines

24 Nov 2011

Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has issued fines totalling PLN113.7 million (USD34.1 million) to four mobile operators for anti-competitive behaviour. Polkomtel (PLN34 million), Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa (PLN 34 million), Orange Poland (PLN 35 million) and P4 (PLN 10.7 million) were found to have entered into an unlawful agreement that restricted the development of mobile TV broadcasting, (DVB-H, Digital Video Broadcasting–Handheld).

The four formed a consortium in 2009 to bid for frequencies for the platform, but lost the tender to Info-TV-FM. However, in order to begin offering DVB-H services to end users on a large scale, Info-TV-FM needed to sign agreements with the mobile operators. The UOKiK found evidence showing that the cartel had colluded to publicly question and cast doubt on the reliability of Info-TV-FM and the validity of its bid, discouraging cooperation. The companies shared classified information, and were ‘fully aware of the anti-monopoly risk they exposed themselves to.’ Restricting the tender winner in this way, the consortium effectively ‘ceased the development of the DVB-H wholesale TV market. Additionally, consumers lost the opportunity to enjoy mobile TV services on the phone.’