THE EUROPEAN Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that the Slovak telecommunications authority was wrong when it said it is not authorised to check and fine the Skylink TV satellite operator, the Sme daily reported in its May 6 issue.

About one and half years ago, Skylink imposed a monthly fee of €1.20 a month on its customers, even though it had originally promised ‘good-quality TV-signal reception without fees’. The Czech telecommunications authority fined Skylink, explaining that it is a regular operator even though it does not run a network of transmitters, but only sells decoding cards for TVs to receive the satellite signals.

The Slovak Telecommunications Office (TÚ) at the time claimed that Skylink is not a regular operator, and that they therefore could not fine it. Thus, the TÚ did not scrutinise the firm’s practices and moved the case to the authorities in Luxembourg, where Skylink’s parent company, M7 Group, resides, Sme wrote.

The ECJ ruled that owners of services, such as Skylink and freeSAT (operated by UPC), are proper operators and are subject to regulation. The ruling also stipulates that European Union member states can look into whether such companies observe national consumer protection laws, even if their parent firms reside in another EU country.

“We have to read the ruling of the ECJ first,” said Roman Vavro, spokesperson for the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (RÚ), the successor of TÚ, as quoted by Sme.

The daily wrote that RÚ could fine M7 Group, for example, for not being registered with the Slovak list of operators. The company would face a €1.5 million fine.

It is not clear whether M7 Group will send the necessary documents to Slovakia. The company responded that it has read the verdict, but will not specify its next steps, as reported by Sme.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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