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Telefonica lands €500,000 fine for competition rule breaches

Spain's biggest telecoms firm was found to have breached two rules regarding prices and access to SMS services.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

Telefonica has been fined a total of €500,000 for what Spain's telecoms regulator called two "very serious" breaches of competition laws.

The first fine of €250,000 was for failing to notify the Spanish watchdog CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencian) of prices it would be offering for its Movistar home broadband and telephone combination packages.

As Spain's largest telco, Telefonica is obliged to inform the CNMC of any price changes at least one month before they take effect. However, the CNMC found that Telefonica was offering the packages on sale through its website before it had notified the watchdog.

"From this communication, CNMC can control the prices, offers, discounts, or promotions [from Telefonica] and ensure that alternative operators can compete on equal terms, without any breaches of industry regulations occurring," CNMC said in a statement.

The second offence, which also landed Telefonica with a €250,000 fine, was for blocking 11 premium-rate SMS numbers that were run by another company. As part of an earlier resolution Telefonica was asked to unblock 26 premium-rate text message numbers operated by NVIA; however CMNC found that Telefonica has only reopened 15 of the requested numbers.

The CMNC’s judgement said Telefonica's "failure to comply with the precautionary measures taken by the CNMC is considered a 'very serious' offence".

ZDNet has asked Telefonica for a response to the fine and will update the article we receive one.

This is not the first brush Telefonica has had with Spanish competition authorities. In November last year, it was announced that its network sharing deal struck with Yoigo would be investigated. The deal saw Telefonica given access to Yoigo's 4G network in return for access to Telefonica’s national broadband infrastructure.

However, rivals of the two firms claimed the deal broke competition rules as the names and prices of Yoigo's packages were almost identical to those offered by Telefonica, and amounted to coordination of the market.

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