Poland’s three major mobile operators under scrutiny
Poland’s office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) opened an investigation to establish whether the country’s three major mobile operators – Orange, Plus and T-Mobile – breached competition regulations by overvaluing connection rates to startup mobile operator Play, Polish daily Puls Biznesu wrote March 19.
“Analysis by the office shows that the actual costs suffered by the three operators may not necessarily legitimate such enormous differences in connection rates to Play,” UOKiK wrote in a statement. “ One of the consequences of such practices may be to impede the development of competition on the telecoms market, e. g. hindering the functioning of other operators besides the three major ones.”
Should the investigation confirm these allegations, all three operators will face fines of up to 10 per cent of their annual sales value for the previous year.
“The fine is very probable,” Pawel Puchalski, head of the analysis unit at DM BZ WBK, commented for the paper. “At present, each of the three major operators has around 30 per cent of the market share. Evening-out the connection rates and the ensuing evolution of the market may cause the four companies’ market shares to balance out, and translate into a 5 per cent drop in market share of the three major operators,” Puchalski concluded.
Puls Biznesu calculated that should the three operators be obligated to even-out their connection rates to Play, they may each suffer a loss of some PLN 100 mln in annual net profit.