Vodafone launches complaint over Telefonica-Yoigo network sharing deal

Vodafone has asked Spanish competition watchdogs to suspend the deal over collusion fears.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

Vodafone has confirmed that it has complained to Spains competition watchdog CNMC (the National Markets and Competition Commission) over the network sharing deal between Telefonica and Yoigo.

In a statement sent to ZDNet, Vodafone said that it believes the network sharing deal is a restriction of competition and involves "co-ordination of market behaviour".

The deal gave Telefonica access to Yoigo's national 4G network, while in return Yoigo was given access to Telefonica's broadband infrastructure, meaning it could for the first time offer combined mobile, landline and broadband packages.

Vodafone said that its complaint was first lodged at the end of August, when the deal was announced. It has subsequently added to the complaint following this week's announcement from Yoigo about the launch of a number of triple-play packages.

The similarity in names and prices between Telefonica and Yoigo's offerings has particularly drawn Vodafone's ire.

"Vodafone argues that the recent Yoigo's launch of the commercial converged offer confirms the findings of the initial written complaint presented to the CNMC," the statement read. "It shows evident coordination between trade policies of the incumbent operator [Telefonica] and the fourth operator [Yoigo]. In fact, retail prices of the converged offers of both companies and the configuration of their respective bundle settings are virtually identical.

"These deals are designed so that there is no competition between the two companies in fixed communications and eliminate competition that existed in mobile communications."

Overall, the deal between Telefonica and Yoigo and the subsequent announcements about Yoigo's pricing shows the deal was designed to restrict competition, Vodafone claimed.

"[The] tariffs and services advertised confirm Vodafone was right in what we said in the complaint to the CNC [the now defunct competition regulator replaced by the CNMC] presented in August: that Telefonica/Yoigo's agreement involves coordination of market behaviour, information exchange, resignation to compete and, as a result, competition restriction."

Vodafone confirmed that it is requesting that the authorities suspend the deal with it investigates its complaint.

We have reached out to Telefonica, Yoigo and CNMC for comment and will update this article if we receive a response.

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