On 15 October 2014, the Commission announced that it has imposed a fine of € 38.838 million on Slovak Telekom and its parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG for infringing Article 102 TFEU over the course of more than five years, from 12 August 2005 to at least 31 December 2010. According to its press release, the Commission claims that Slovak Telekom engaged in an abusive strategy to shut out competitors from the Slovak market for broadband services by refusing to supply unbundled access to its local loops to competitors "under fair conditions", and by imposing a margin squeeze on alternative operators which allegedly made it impossible for alternative operators to use its legacy telephone network infrastructure without incurring a loss.
In this respect, it appears from the Commission's press release that the refusal to supply allegation reflects the Commission's concerns that Slovak Telekom unjustifiably withheld network information necessary for the unbundling of the local loops, unilaterally reduced the scope of its regulatory obligation to unbundle and set other unfair terms and conditions in relation to each of the steps needed to obtain access (e.g. collocation, qualification, forecasting, repairs and bank guarantees). This delayed or prevented the entry of alternative operators into the retail broadband services market in Slovakia and amounts to a refusal to grant access. It also appears from the press release that, consistent with previous margin squeeze cases, Slovak Telekom allegedly set the prices for access to its local loops and its retail prices at levels which would force competitors to incur losses if they wanted to sell broadband services to retail customers at retail prices matching those offered by Slovak Telekom.
The Commission also announced that Deutsche Telekom was jointly and severally liable for this fine as a parent company with decisive influence over Slovak Telekom, and that it received an additional fine of € 31.07 million to ensure sufficient deterrence as well as to sanction its repeated abusive behaviour relating to its own margin squeeze in broadband markets in Germany in 2003. In this respect, the Commission's press release stated that Deutsche Telekom: (i) was a majority shareholder of Slovak Telekom, holding 51% of its shares; (ii) has a number of special rights allowing it to exercise decisive influence over the company such as the right to nominate the majority of the Board of Directors and to be informed about all management matters within Slovak Telekom; and (iii) actually exercised this decisive influence through overlaps in senior management personnel and by influencing the decision-making process at Slovak Telekom.
The decision has not yet been made available publicly.
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