Telecom Italia, Italy’s largest telecoms operator, has been fined €103.8m "for having abused its dominant position in network infrastructure".
The fine was handed down by the Italian Antitrust Authority on Friday. "In two separate episodes, Telecom Italia abused its dominant position in managing wholesale access services to local and broadband networks, obstructing competitors' expansion in the market for voice telecommunication services and broadband internet access", it said in a statement.
The company was found guilty of having unfairly refused a number of requests for activation of wholesale services – a rejection known as a KO. Telecom Italia treated requests coming from other operators in a discriminatory manner compared to those originating from its internal divisions, the authority said, thereby obstructing competitors' access to its infrastructure and making service access activations significantly more difficult. As a result, the authority fined Telecom Italia €88.2m.
The authority also found Telecom Italia had aggressively, discounted the cost of fixed-line access for large business clients, to the extent it would prevent an equally efficient competitor from operating in a profitable manner. The Antitrust Authority fined Telecom Italia €15.6m for the breach of competition rules.
The company was also warned against repeating such behaviour in future.
The company issued a statement declaring that other operators have always been assured of equal treatment regarding network access, in accordance with current legislation.
"Missing acceptance of line activation requests were often due to incorrect requests: indeed, the percentage of orders rejected ranges from less than 10 percent for [other operators] who send in more correct orders to over 60 percent for those who send requests containing more errors. The absence of any discriminatory behaviour within the technical support is confirmed by all the 2012 certified data... These indicators demonstrate that the alternative operators have been enjoying services on a par with, if not actually better than, the commercial divisions of Telecom Italia," it added.
Telecom Italia is now planning to appeal the ruling.