Competition cases

Telenor Investigation

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On 1 February 2016 the Authority sent a Statement of Objections to Telenor Norge AS and Telenor ASA.  The Statement of Objections sets out the Authority's preliminary view that Telenor has infringed Article 54 of the EEA Agreement.

Mr. Frank Büchel, Member of College – the Authority's decision-making body – with special responsibility for competition matters, stated: «Companies that are dominant players in a market have a special responsibility to ensure that their business practices do not impede competition. Where competition is impeded, consumers ultimately suffer from higher prices, lower quality, and diminished choice and innovation in products and services. It is therefore with the interest of Norwegian consumers in mind that we intervene in this case.»

The Statement of Objections concerns Telenor's conduct in three Norwegian markets: the market for wholesale mobile access and origination services, the market for mobile broadband services to residential customers, and the market for mobile communications services to business customers.

The EFTA Surveillance Authority takes the preliminary view that Telenor's pricing of access and origination services at the wholesale level likely impeded competing offers in the market for mobile broadband services to residential customers. Telenor charged prices to wholesale customers that were higher than the prices Telenor offered to residential mobile broadband users. This behaviour took place from January 2008 until the end of 2012.

In the market for mobile communications services to business customers, the Authority is concerned that clauses in Telenor's contracts have impeded competition by making it very difficult for its customers to switch provider and by making it overly expensive for competitors to capture customers from Telenor. The clauses tie Telenor's subscribers to the company for two years and impose a high penalty fee in case of premature termination. The penalty exceeds any savings to the customer that agrees to the lock-in on subscriptions. The Authority takes the preliminary view that Telenor has infringed the EEA competition rules also in this respect. Telenor's conduct is still ongoing and the Authority is investigating the period from January 2008 to the present.

Telenor is invited to comment on the Statement of Objections by 11 April 2016 and may ask to be heard in an oral hearing. The sending of a statement of objections does not predetermine the final outcome of the proceedings.

If the Authority's preliminary conclusions are confirmed, it may adopt a decision requiring Telenor to cease the conduct in question, and it may also impose a fine.

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