Albania’s antitrust watchdog the Competition Authority (Autoriteti i Konkurrences, CAA) has given conditional approval to Vodafone Albania’s planned acquisition of cable broadband provider Albanian Broadband Company (ABCom). In its analysis, the regulator found that the takeover would not strengthen Vodafone’s dominant position in the mobile market nor establish dominance in the fixed market. The CAA was nevertheless wary of the potential impact on the fixed and mobile sectors and imposed a number of conditions on the tie up. As such, Vodafone was ordered to ‘no longer abuse its dominant position’ through: the direct or indirect setting of unfair prices; offering different terms for the same offers; or establishing conditions for contracts in which the other party must take on additional obligations not related to the subject of the contract. Vodafone/ABCom was also required to maintain separate accounts for fixed and mobile services, to ensure that the source of revenue can be identified.
Other safeguarding measures imposed by the regulator include monitoring the merged entity’s activities for a twelve-month period, during which the CAA should be notified in advance of any plans to change service packages or introduce new tariffs. The CAA also recommended that the sector watchdog the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority (Autoritetit Te Komunikimeve Elektronike Dhe Postare, AKEP) approve in advance any new package that combines fixed and mobile services in the same bundle, and require providers to list the respective prices of the component services featured in the package.