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Competition

PR(08)58: The EFTA Surveillance Authority closes investigation of telecommunications restructuring in Liechtenstein with commitments decision

18.9.2008

The Authority adopted yesterday a decision making commitments binding upon Liechtensteinische Kraftwerke Anstalt (LKW) and Telecom Liechtenstein AG in order to remove competition concerns raised by its preliminary assessment of the restructuring of the telecommunications markets in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Telecom Liechtenstein is a 100% state-owned telecommunications operator in Liechtenstein while LKW is a 100% state-owned electricity and telecommunications undertaking in Liechtenstein.

In a preliminary assessment of December 2007, the Authority concluded that an agreement between LKW and Telecom Liechtenstein would result in restrictions of competition contrary to the competition rules of the EEA Agreement. LKW and Telecom Liechtenstein (the parties) submitted commitments in order to remove the Authority’s concerns. The Authority adopted yesterday a decision making these commitments binding on the parties.

The Authority found that the Principality of Liechtenstein had not infringed the EEA competition rules by imposing certain behaviour on the two companies. However, in a preliminary assessment the Authority concluded that the parties themselves may have infringed the EEA competition rules by: (i) committing not to compete with each other for an unlimited period of time; and (ii) concluding a strategic alignment with regard to development of the telecommunications network in Liechtenstein under which LKW is required to fulfil the network infrastructure requirements of Telecom Liechtenstein. The concerns were that these provisions would restrict competition and would have a foreclosure effect on actual and potential telecommunications operators in Liechtenstein.

In February 2008, following receipt of the preliminary assessment, the parties submitted commitments to remove the Authority's concerns. In their commitments the parties removed the non-competition clauses and provisions regarding strategic alignment from their agreement. In addition, with regard to network development planning, LKW committed to regularly ascertain the requirements of all service providers as regards network infrastructure with a view to providing non-discriminatory access to all market participants.

Following a public consultation on the text of the commitments, the Authority concluded that they met the concerns identified in its preliminary assessment. The Authority therefore, decided to make the commitments binding on the parties by decision.

For further information, please contact:

Mr Amund Utne
Director, Competition & State Aid Directorate
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50

Mr Inge Thygesen
Press & Information Officer, Legal & Executive Affairs
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66

 




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