EC raids telecoms operators over antitrust concerns

12 Jul 2013

The European Commission (EC) has confirmed that it carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of a number of telecoms companies in several member states, amid concerns that the firms may have abused their dominant position in the worldwide internet traffic market. While the EC did not reveal the names of the companies involved, the Financial Times reported that France’s Orange Group and Deutsche Telekom (DT) of Germany confirmed that their offices had been inspected. The report added that two people close to Telefonica separately confirmed that the offices of the Spanish telecoms group had also been raided. In a press release, DT said it was ‘surprised’ by the initiation of further investigations by the EC. ‘DT faces fierce competition on the global market for internet traffic. This market is dominated by major providers based in the US, which means we are not the right target for these investigations. DT is cooperating closely with the authorities to clarify the matter,’ a company spokesperson said. Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices, although Brussels reiterated that such inspections do not necessarily mean that the companies are guilty of anticompetitive behaviour.

France, Germany, Spain, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Orange Group, Telefonica