Swiss full-service provider Sunrise has announced that it is suing state-owned incumbent Swisscom for abusing its dominant market position from 2001 to 2007 with its pricing policy for ADSL services. Swisscom practiced a margin squeeze that prevented Sunrise as a wholesale customer from operating a profitable ADSL business, the company claims, and is seeking damages of CHF350 million (USD360 million), plus interest. Sunrise notes that it is basing its claim on the ruling of the Federal Supreme Court in December 2019 which confirmed Swisscom’s market abuse and issued the company with a fine of CHF186 million. The process had originally been launched in 2009, when Switzerland’s competition authority concluded that Swisscom had abused its position and fined the company CHF220 million but subsequent appeals delayed the conclusion of the case by ten years.
In its statement, Sunrise explained that it had calculated the value of its damages due to the loss of market share and the prevention of gains in the broadband market – as well as the adjacent landline and mobile markets – at CHF457 million. As a precautionary measure, Sunrise noted that it had instead ‘interrupted the statute of limitation for a claim of CHF350 million, and is filing a claim for damages of CHF350 million plus interest with the Bern Commercial Court.’ The operator went on to say: ‘Sunrise hopes the lawsuit can be processed quickly, however previous experience shows that Swisscom is likely to drag the case through all instances again and that it could be years before a final judgement is issued.’