Eir claims regulatory decision limits its ability to compete in market

Company says regulator relying on a 2018 decision it made to prohibit discounts even though that decision did not provide for any such prohibition

Eir has brought a High Court challenge over a regulatory decision it says limits its ability to compete in the wholesale broadband market.

Eircom Ltd, which trades as Eir, claims the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), is imposing a prohibition on the company which prevents it from offering promotions or discount schemes for certain fibre-to-home (FTTP), virtual unbundled access (VUA) and FTTH bitstream products.

ComReg, in its latest quarterly report, has put the total revenues for this market at some €148 million.

Eircom says ComReg is relying on a November 2018 decision it made to prohibit discounts even though that decision did not provide for any such prohibition.


ComReg denies the claims and says Eircom’s concerns may be overtaken by its pending current market review. Eircom rejects this.

The challenge by Eircom to ComReg was admitted to the High Court’s fast-track commercial list on Monday on the application of Eircom. ComReg was neutral on the application for entry.

Mr Justice Denis McDonald approved directions, with variations, for the progress of the case through the Commercial Court and adjourned it to the new year.

In its challenge, Eircom seeks an order annulling a direction made by ComReg on October 26 last that the company comply with the alleged prohibition, which Eircom says does not exist.

It has the effect of directing Eircom to refrain from publishing and implementing two discount schemes which it notified to the watchdog last June.

In an affidavit, Eircom chief regulatory officer, Kjeld Hartog, said the significant economic impact and considerable commercial significance of the October direction by ComReg made the proceedings suitable for entry to the fast-track court list.

He also said the proceedings will address issues that to date have received “limited judicial attention” in this jurisdiction. Any court decision is likely to be an important precedent that will inform the process that ComReg and other regulators adopt and follow when issuing such directions, he said.