Anti-trust watchdog raids top European telecoms
Firms said to have abused their market position in deals with internet companies
Telecom companies can be fined as much as 10 per cent of their global turnover for breaching EU anti-trust rules
Europe’s competition watchdog is investigating some of the region’s biggest telecoms firms over whether they abused their market position in deals with internet companies to deliver content to consumers.
Offices of Deutsche Telekom, France’s Orange and Spain’s Telefonica were searched by anti-trust regulators after a complaint by a US-based competitor, two people familiar with the matter said yesterday.
The amount that telecom operators charge for delivering content has become a sore point with some internet companies. In the past delivery was free.
But with data traffic from streaming video and other downloads booming, operators argue that the internet companies should pay more.
US-based Cogent Communications – a middleman, or transit provider, that carries global traffic on behalf of internet companies that want to reach consumers – has filed similar complaints against several European telecom operators in recent years.
Two people close to the situation said the current Brussels inquiry was also related to the issues raised by Cogent.
The EU Commission said yesterday it raided the offices of some telecoms providers in several countries on July 9th, but did not identify the companies nor the specific objective, in line with its usual policy.
“The commission has concerns that the companies concerned may have violated EU anti-trust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant market position,” the EU executive said in a statement.
Deutsche Telekom and Orange confirmed the raid. Orange and Telefonica said separately that they were co-operating fully with the inspections.
Companies can be fined as much as 10 per cent of their global turnover for breaching EU anti-trust rules. – Reuters