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Slovak Telekom fined Sk526 million

The Antitrust Office (PMÚ) fined Slovakia's dominant fixed-line operator Slovak Telekom Sk525.8 million (€15.65 million) for abusing its dominant position on the market. The Antitrust Office ruled that Slovak Telekom set its wholesale and retail prices in an anti-competitive practice called a margin squeeze. PMÚ spokeswoman Alexandra Bernáthová defined a margin squeeze as setting prices to exclude or restrict competition, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Antitrust Office (PMÚ) fined Slovakia's dominant fixed-line operator Slovak Telekom Sk525.8 million (€15.65 million) for abusing its dominant position on the market. The Antitrust Office ruled that Slovak Telekom set its wholesale and retail prices in an anti-competitive practice called a margin squeeze. PMÚ spokeswoman Alexandra Bernáthová defined a margin squeeze as setting prices to exclude or restrict competition, the SITA newswire wrote.

Slovak Telekom denies the accusations and will appeal the fine.

The Antitrust Office said that in 2004 and 2005, Slovak Telekom introduced tariffs on the retail market within individual calling programmes that enabled its clients 30-minute calls for a single crown during a certain time of day and also tariffs facilitating calls free of charge in the defined period of time. Shortly afterwards, in August 2005 alternative operators entered the market who had to pay a wholesale price to Slovak Telekom - so-called interconnection fees.

The Antitrust Office also said that the free minutes that Slovak Telekom provides in these calling programmes limit competition and shut off a part of the market for alternative operators. A common client has economic motivation to spend these free minutes and thus a considerable portion of telecommunication needs are covered exclusively via Slovak Telekom, said Bernáthová.

Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports

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