Monthly Archives: January 2004

Estonian Telecom ends legal dispute with competition board

Estonian Competition Board and Elion, fixed-line subsidiary of Estonian Telecom have reached a settlement over the minute rates charged by Elion.

The 10-day deadline for an appeal set forth in the court ruling expired yesterday. On 15 January the Competition Board and Elion filed an application with Tallinn Administrative Court to approve their Agreement on ending the lawsuit litigated by all instances of court because over the years the case has ceased to be an issue.

In the Agreement Elion concedes that the unified intranetwork minute rates introduced on 1 April 2001 would have been too high at that time if speech packages and volume discount had not been introduced.

In its turn the Competition Board acknowledges that Elion has been complying with the requirements of the precept by introducing price packages and volume discount, thus reducing the average minute rates below the price level established on 1 April 2001.

Under the Agreement Elion is to indemnify the Competition Board in the amount of EEK 440 000 (EUR 28 121) that covers partly the expenses incurred.

www.balticbusinessnews.com

The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to TeliaSonera

The European Commission has sent a statement of objections to TeliaSonera of Sweden regarding abuse of its dominant position in the provision of high-speed Internet access.

The statement concerns a contract for the construction and operation of a fibre-optic broadband network for the provision of high-speed Internet access and other services
on behalf of HSB Malmö, a regional housing association. A complaint was made against Telia (which at that time had not merged with Sonera) by B2 Bredband AB, a Swedish
provider of electronic communications networks and services, who bid for the same contract.

The Commission believes that Telia’s bid for the contract was intentionally set below cost and did not allow the operator to recover the investments and expenses derived from the
provision of infrastructures and services contained in the contract. Telia aimed to prevent alternative providers of infrastructure from entering the market for the provision of
broadband networks and services. Telia therefore abused its dominant position, the Commission said.

TeliaSonera now has two months to present arguments contesting the Commission’s preliminary analysis. (19 December 2003)

European competition review

TeliaSonera Changing Auditor. Invites Offers

TeliaSonera AB (TLSN) Thursday said it will propose changing its financial auditor to PriceWaterhouseCoopers at the company’s next annual shareholder’s meeting in April.

In May, TeliaSonera invited offers for the position from Deloitte&Touche, Ernst&Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The two main shareholders of TeliaSonera, the Swedish and Finnish States, representing totally 64.4 percent of the shares and votes in TeliaSonera, have informed that they support the proposal to name PricewaterhouseCoopers auditor.

TeliaSonera’s annual meeting is to be held April 28, 2004 

Dow Jones Newswires

AB „Lietuvos telekomas“ atpigino internetą

Norėdama paskatinti Lietuvos gyventojus naudotis interneto paslaugomis, AB „Lietuvos telekomas“ siūlo unikalų interneto paslaugos planą,  leidžiantį už 10 litų internetu naudotis 30 valandų per mėnesį. Naujas bendrovės „Interneto“ planas skirtas privatiems vartotojams, kurie naudojasi  interneto komutuojama linija paslauga „Atviras takas“.
„Tyrimai rodo, kad didelė interneto paslaugų kaina yra viena pagrindinių priežasčių, dėl kurių mažai internetu naudojamasi namie. Šis ypač palankus pasiūlymas  turėtų paspartinti interneto vartojimo namie plėtrą Lietuvoje. Tikimės pritraukti per 20 tūkstančių naujų  „Atviro tako“ vartotojų“, – sakė Paslaugų plėtros departamento Duomenų ir interneto prieigos sektoriaus direktorė Laura Vaitkuvienė.
L. Vaitkuvienė pabrėžė, kad interneto kaina Lietuvoje jau susilygino su jo kaina Europos Sąjungos šalyse ir šalyse kandidatėse, tačiau internetu namie vis dar mažai naudojamasi.
Šiuo metu „Lietuvos telekomas“ turi per  21 tūkst. privačių „Atviro tako“ paslaugos vartotojų, kurie per mėnesį internetu iš viso naudojasi daugiau nei 166 tūkst. valandų. Vidutiniškai vienas privatus vartotojas „Atviro tako“ paslauga naudojasi beveik 8 valandas per mėnesį.
Viršiję „Interneto“ plane numatytų valandų limitą, už naudojimąsi internetu vartotojai mokės pagal visiems „Atviro tako“ vartotojams taikomas kainas.
Užsisakant „Interneto“ planą, vartotojams nereikės sudaryti jokių sutarčių. Šio plano užsisakymo mokestis – 9,99 Lt (su PVM). Gavęs sąskaitą klientas matys, kiek nemokamų valandų jis išnaudojo,  be to,  šią informaciją galės sužinoti telefonu 1585.  Abonentinis mokestis už fiksuoto ryšio liniją – 23 litai.
„Atviro tako“ paslaugos telefonas – (8~901) 5 55 55. Daugiau informacijos apie šį planą galima sužinoti paskambinus nemokamais Bendrovės informacijos telefonais: 117 arba 1525.
Violeta Ulevičienė,
Informacijos skyriaus viršininkė,
(8~5) 236 76 79

„TeliaSonera“ ir Latvija bandys išspręsti ginčą

Šiaurės regiono telekomunikacijų bendrovė „TeliaSonera“ pareiškė, jog Latvija sutiko neteisminiu būdu ieškoti sprendimo, kad būtų užbaigtas konfliktas dėl dviejų Latvijos ryšių kompanijų bendros nuosavybės.

„TeliaSonera“ atstovas Baltijos šalyse Kjelis Lindstromas (Kjell Lindstrom) pareiškė, jog Latvijos vyriausybė atsiuntė laišką, kuriame siūlo tiesiogines derybas dėl bylos nutraukimo tarptautiniame arbitraže, nors jokių konkrečių sąlygų nenurodyta.

„TeliaSonera“ valdo 49 proc. fiksuotojo ryšio operatorės „Lattelekom“ ir 60 proc. mobiliojo ryšio operatorės LMT akcijų. Ji pati birželio mėnesį pateikė ginčo sprendimo pasiūlymą – iš Latvijos valstybės nupirkti likusias abiejų įmonių akcijų dalis rinkos kaina.

„Abi šalys yra suinteresuotos kuo greičiau pasiekti susitarimą“, – teigė K. Lindstromas, atsisakydamas komentuoti žiniasklaidos pranešimus, esą „TeliaSonera“ pasiūlė Latvijai 150-226 mln. latų (280-420 mln. JAV dolerių) už 51 proc. „Lattelekom“ akcijų.

Jo teigimu, vyriausybės laiške daugiausia kalbama apie bylą teisme, tačiau laiškas galėtų atverti kelią likusių akcijų pardavimui.

„TeliaSonera“ stiprina savo veiklą Baltijos valstybėse, kur mobiliojo ir fiksuotojo ryšio rinka yra pakankamai mažai užpildyta palyginti su Švedija – pagrindine kompanijos rinka, kur devyni iš dešimties žmonių turi mobiliuosius telefonus.

Lietuvoje „TeliaSonera“ turi 60 proc. fiksuotojo ryšio paslaugų teikėjos „Lietuvos telekomas“ akcijų ir 90 proc. mobiliojo ryšio operatorės „Omnitel“ akcijų. Estijoje ji valdo 49 proc. fiksuotojo ir mobiliojo ryšio bendrovės „Eesti Telekom“ dalį.

„Mes esame suinteresuoti padidinti savo nuosavybę Baltijos telekomunikacijų kompanijose“, – pareiškė K. Lindstromas, pridurdamas, jog „TeliaSonera“ nesvarstė sujungti nė vienos iš Baltijos šalių kompanijų.

Latvija ir „TeliaSonera“ nesutaria nuo 1997 metų, kuomet valstybė nusprendė nuo 2002 metų pabaigos, o tai yra 10 metų anksčiau nei buvo planuota, panaikinti „Lattelekom“ fiksuotojo ryšio monopolį.

„TeliaSonera“ dėl šio žingsnio padavė Latviją į teismą, o ši pateikė atsakomąjį ieškinį, kaltindama Šiaurės regiono grupę savo pažado modernizuoti fiksuotojo ryšio tinklą nevykdymu.

ELTA

TeliaSonera and Latvia to hold negotiations over dispute

Finnish-Swedish telecomms group TeliaSonera has said that the Latvian government has agreed to seek an out-of-court settlement in the dispute over the joint ownership of two Latvian telecomms firms.

A TeliaSonera spokesman told Reuters that the government had proposed direct negotiations in order to resolve the dispute which concerns the Latvian fixed-line operator Lattelekom and mobile operator LMT.

TeliaSonera owns 49% of Lattelekom and 60% of LMT.

The disagreement dates back to 1997, when Latvia decided to terminate Lattelekom’s fixed-line monopoly earlier than planned. TeliaSonera sued Latvia but then faced a counter claim alleging that the company had failed to honour its pledge to modernise the fixed network, Reuters reported.

TELECOMWORLDWIRE

TeliaSonera, Latvia to seek settlement on 2 firms

     Nordic telecoms group TeliaSonera said on Tuesday that Latvia had agreed to seek an out-of-court settlement to end a long dispute over joint ownership of two Latvian telecoms firms. 

      TeliaSonera’s Baltic spokesman, Kjell Lindstrom, told Reuters the Latvian government had sent a letter proposing direct negotiations to end a case in international arbitration court, although without specifying any terms. 

      TeliaSonera, which owns 49 percent of fixed-line operator Lattelekom and 60 percent of mobile operator LMT, made its own settlement offer in June, which included a bid to buy the remaining shares of both from the Latvian state at market value. 

      “It is in both our interests that we reach an agreement as soon as possible,” Lindstrom said, declining to comment on media reports that TeliaSonera offered Latvia 150-226 million lats ($280-420 million) for its 51 percent of Lattelekom shares. 

      He said the government’s letter was mainly about the court case but could open the way to eventual stake sales. 

      TeliaSonera is tightening its grip on the Baltic countries, where mobile and fixed-line market saturation are relatively low compared with Sweden, TeliaSonera’s main market in which nine of 10 people have a mobile phone and sales are declining. 

      In Estonia, it owns 49 percent of fixed and mobile service provider Eesti Telekom, and in Lithuania it has 60 percent of fixed-line provider Lietuvos Telekomas and 90 percent of mobile operator Omnitel. 

      “We are interested to increase our ownership in Baltic telecommunication companies as a form of consolidating through shared competence,” Lindstrom said, adding that TeliaSonera had not discussed merging any of its Baltic companies. 

      Latvia and TeliaSonera have quarrelled since 1997, when the state decided to terminate Lattelekom’s fixed-line monopoly from the end of 2002, 10 years earlier than previously planned. 

      TeliaSonera sued Latvia over the move and Latvia filed a counter claim alleging the Nordic group had failed to meet its pledge to modernise the fixed network.

Reuters

Latvian Telecomunications services market – Yearly Report 2003

2003 was the first de jure liberalisation year in  telecommunications sector. Actually by the end of the year the historically incumbent operator – “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd – lose but few percents of its market share in voice telephony fixed network services despite the 70 licences obtained by enterprises intending to provide these types of services.

During this year telephony service provision was started by 12 telecommunication enterprises. Partly the situation was caused by the behaviour of “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd in the market. In autumn Competition Council received several telecom operator’s and Telecommunications Association joint application on alleged abuse of dominant position by “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd, which offered discriminating interconnection tariffs to other operators, thus practically precluded arising competition in telecommunication services market.

In the application was mentioned also obstructive behaviour of the two mobile operators, “Latvijas Mobilais telefons” and SIA “Tele2”, which offered unfair methodology for tariff creation thus providing much more better conditions for the big operators in the market. In this way the three biggest providers of telecom services attempted to preserve their positions in the market and to prevent customer migration to the new telecom services providers.

Competition Council was unable to solve the problem, because Competition Law stated clearly that the contents and process of concluding of interconnection agreements as well as dispute resolution between parties were in the competence of Utility Services Regulatory Commission. Competition Council decision on discontinuing the investigation was appealed in court.

“Lattelekom SIA” Ltd continue to use its dominant position in several telecom services markets, to hold back competition in other markets, where other operators are or may become active. E.g. Competition Council reviewed complaint from “BetaCom” Ltd that “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd, when providing the complex “Komforta ISDN” service, provides discounts actually precluding entrance of other players in the bureau telephone exchange lease market. The “Komforta ISDN” service encompasses service of subscribing for 2 ISDN lines, lease of bureau exchange as well as local and international voice telephony fixed public network services. “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd is dominant positioning in two markets – ISDN and public fixed voice telephony network services markets.

In the framework of “Komforta ISDN” service “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd provides subscription (BTMC) discounts when the amount of voice calls in the fixed network exceeds certain threshold. In addition in framework of the complex ISDN line service subscription tariff is lower than in case of separate ISDN line subscription. Competition Council established that due to such practice of “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd entrance in the bureau exchange lease market is heavily hindered for enterprises, which are not providers of voice telephony services and ISDN lines in public fixed network, because they cannot offer prices which may compete with those of offer by “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd.

Thus “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd abuses dominant position in public fixed voice telephony services and ISDN line lease, closing bureau exchange lease market. Because of the mentioned discount, provided by “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd, which depends on the voice call amount, customer is interested to receive this fixed public network service but from “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd. Through the mentioned discount by which “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd encourages to buy both bureau exchange lease and voice telephony service from “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd it has bundled two essentially different services each of which may be bought from different providers. In this way “Lattelekom SIA” Ltd creates possibility to strengthen its dominant position in fixed telecom network market and to obstruct competition in bureau exchange lease market.

Competition Council
Blaumana iela 5a, Riga LV-1011, Latvia
Tel.: 7282865
Fax: 7242141
E-mail:
council@competition.lv
www.competition.lv

Competition Council examined the notification filed on 2 September 2003 by TeliaSonera AB on concentration

In December 2003, the CC examined the notification filed on 2 September 2003 by TeliaSonera AB on concentration by acquiring up to 90% shares of UAB Omnitel through its subsidiary Amber Mobile Teleholding AB. The CC resolved to authorise the intended concentration under the following terms and obligations: < ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

               1. UAB Omnitel is prohibited from effecting reorganisation through taking over or merging with AB Lietuvos Telekomas or any other undertaking directly or indirectly controlled by TeliaSonera AB without the prior notification of CC in the prescribed manner and within the established time limits, and having obtained an authorisation of the CC to perform such concentration actions.

 

               2. AB Lietuvos Telekomas shall not, unless it obtains a prior authorisation of the CC, transfer its current operations (customer contracts) related to the provision of the fixed telecommunications market to UAB Omnitel. This obligation shall be revoked in case UAB Omnitel, in the manner prescribed by the laws, is subject to one or more regulatory obligations as an undertaking exercising a significant influence in the relevant telecommunications market.

 

               3. Seeking to ensure the transparency of operations related to the provision of telecommunications services via the public fixed and the mobile telecommunications networks, UAB Omnitel is obligated to maintain separate accounting of all costs related to the provision of fixed telecommunications services. This obligation, in view of the segregated accounting of costs related to the access and the network interconnection must be fulfilled not later than within three months following the coming into effect of the Resolution of the CC authorising the concentration.

 

               4. TeliaSonera AB is obligated to ensure that AB Lietuvos Telekomas and UAB Omnitel including all other directly or indirectly controlled undertakings providing the fixed telecommunications services in the Republic of Lithuania, acting in accordance with the effective domestic laws abide in their operations with the non-discrimination clause, in particular, when concluding contracts concerning the network interconnection and network access.

 

63. The decision of the CC was based on the data produced by telecommunications markets surveys and the liberalisation tendencies inherent to the fixed telecommunications markets. Since in this particular case of the examined concentration the joint control over UAB Omnitel exercised jointly by TeliaSonera AB and Motorola AB was actually being replaced by a unilateral control by TeliaSonera AB, the concentration was designated as horizontal and vertical concentration in the relevant telecommunications markets. In the course of the examination of this particular case of concentration it was established that the principle markets affected by the concentration in question are the fixed telecommunications services and the mobile telecommunications services markets. Besides, the data transmission and the Internet as well as related services markets are rapidly expanding, and, upon the liberalisation of the telecommunications markets, this trend is expected even to accelerate.

64. The investigation conducted by the CC concluded that AB Lietuvos Telekomas holds a dominant position in certain relevant service markets, such as public fixed telecommunications market, individual fixed telecommunications markets and the market for the dedicated lines services. AB Lietuvos Telekomas is holding a significant share in the market for data transmission, provision of the Internet or related services, while a large share of the same markets is held also by UAB Omnitel Furthermore, UAB Omnitel share in the mobile telecommunications market and the international mobile inter-network services market is also significant. The degree of concentration would be affected in the relevant telecommunications markets, which could lead to a creation or strengthening of a dominant position and severe restriction of competition. Furthermore, TeliaSonera AB, by enhancing its control over UAB Omnitel would secure a possibility to exercise a complete coordination of actions of AB Lietuvos Telekomas and UAB Omnitel . For that reason TeliaSonera AB would enhance its capacity through its economy of scale and the volumes of its investment into the development of new technologies, integration of the existing and the developed telecommunications networks, it could rearrange its organisational management structures. It is credible that in the future both AB Lietuvos Telekomas and UAB Omnitel would be able to strengthen their positions in the relevant markets.

65. While passing the decision the CC also made allowance for the fact that TeliaSonera AB undertook to initiate and encourage AB Lietuvos Telekomas to consider the issue of a gradual replacement of the NMT-450 technology by a cable network which would open new opportunities for a more diversified range of telecommunications services in areas where it is considered expedient in view of consumer needs and economic substantiation of such upgrading operations.

ANNUAL REPORT ON COMPETITION POLICY DEVELOPMENTS IN LITHUANIA – 2003

Swedish competition authority approves TietoEnator’s acquisition of Ki Consulting

Finnish-Swedish IT company TietoEnator Corporation said on Friday (2 January) that the Swedish competition authority had approved its acquisition of the entire share capital of the Swedish IT and telecom consultancy company Ki Consulting & Solutions AB (Ki Consulting).

The acquisition was announced on 19 November 2003, and completed on 2 January 2004, according to the company.

Ki Consulting was owned by Telefos, which in turn is controlled by the Industri Kapital 2000 Fund and the Finnish-Swedish telecomms operator TeliaSonera AB, TietoEnator said.

The company said that the acquisition would make TietoEnator the leading IT services provider in the Nordic telecom operators’ market.

The acquisition was previously valued at SEK660m.

TELECOMWORLDWIRE