News, 8 July 2010
In decisions issued on 6 July 2010, the Market Court fined Oulun Puhelin Holding Oyj (formerly Oulun Puhelin Oyj), Aina Group Oyj (formerly Hämeen Puhelin Oy), Kymen Puhelin Oy and TeliaSonera Finland Oyj a total of EUR 220,000 for abusing their dominant market position in setting prices for subscriber connections. In the case of TeliaSonera Finland Oyj, this involved the practices of Auria Oy, formerly Loimaan Seudun Puhelin Oy, which was merged into TeliaSonera Finland Oyj at the beginning of 2007. These decisions were based on proposals for fines submitted to the Market Court by the Finnish Competition Authority.
The cases referred to involved telecom companies in a dominant market position in their respective areas abusing that market position in the early 2000s by illegally favouring their own service providers with regard to the rents they charged for subscriber connections. This price bias made it difficult for competitors to gain access to the market in consumer services provided over subscriber connections, such as broadband and B-to-B services.
These decisions of the Market Court are highly important for healthy competition in the telecom market, because subscriber connections remain a significant bottleneck for nearly all services provided over the fixed network. The decisions are also a more general reminder to companies in dominant market positions not to compromise access to the market by their competitors through biased or otherwise unreasonable pricing or other terms. Complicating market access is particularly reprehensible in situations such as that described above, where a vertically integrated company operates in the same ‘sub-market’ as its competitors.
Each company was fined as follows:
- Oulun Puhelin Holding Oyj EUR 90,000
- Aina Group Oyj EUR 60,000
- Kymen Puhelin Oy EUR 40,000
- TeliaSonera Finland Oyj EUR 30,000
Senior Research Officer Jarno Sukanen
Head of Research Valtteri Virtanen