Italian post office must end SIM card monopoly

6 Jan 2016

Italy’s competition watchdog, Autorita Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), has ordered the country’s post office to begin selling SIM cards of all mobile service providers rather than just those of its own MVNO unit, Poste Mobile. Network operator 3 Italia had complained that state-owned Poste Italiane was abusing its monopoly position in the postal sector by using its 13,000 retail outlets to market its own MVNO service while denying access to other operators. 3 Italia says it made repeated requests to Poste Italiane to offer 3 Italia SIM cards in its post offices. The AGCM has not imposed any fine on Poste Italiane. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Poste Mobile is the country’s largest MVNO, with more than 3.5 million users at the end of September 2015.

Separately, the AGCM has extended the deadline for its ongoing investigation into whether incumbent operator Telecom Italia is complying with a request to grant competitors equal access to its fixed line infrastructure. Reuters reports that the watchdog now expects to complete its investigation by 31 July 2016.