Romania’s Competition Council has announced that it is investigating Telekom Romania Communications for potentially abusing its dominant market position. The operator is suspected of arbitrarily increasing tariffs in 2019 for issuing technical approvals for construction projects.
‘In order to obtain a building authorisation, there are required approvals from administrators/providers of urban utilities, called emplacement approvals. These approvals, listed in the town planning certificate, are necessary to set whether the proposed construction does not create difficulties in operation of municipal networks. The operators issue these approvals for a fee. Thus, the competition authority has clues that, without having an economic justification, Telekom Romania Communications imposed, in 2019, a much higher tariff compared to the that of previous year for issuing the necessary construction approvals,’ the Competition Council explained in a statement.
Although the Council has carried out unannounced inspections at the operator’s headquarters and seized documents, it stressed the investigation is at an early stage and no wrongdoing has yet been established. However, should it conclude that the company has breached competition rules, Telekom is liable for a fine of up to 10% of its turnover. Such an outcome could potentially hinder Greek telco OTE’s deal, announced in November 2020, to sell its 54% stake in Telekom Romania Communications to Orange Group for EUR268 million (USD318.9 million).