Monthly Archives: December 2005

“Lietuvos telekomas” privalės sausio 2-ąją taikyti šventinių dienų paslaugų tarifus

Ryšių reguliavimo tarnyba (RRT) pareikalavo, kad didžiausias Lietuvoje fiksuoto telefono ryšio operatorė – bendrovė „Lietuvos telekomas“ kitų metų sausio 2-ąjątaikytų poilsio (savaitgalio bei švenčių) dienų paslaugų tarifus.

Mobiliojo ryšio operatorė „Tele 2“ jau pranešė RRT, kad 2006-ųjų sausio 2 dieną savo paslaugų vartotojams taikysianti poilsio dienų tarifus.

Nuo šių metų gruodžio 23 dienos Lietuvoje įteisinus papildomų poilsio dienų suteikimą už su savaitgaliais sutampančias šventines dienas, „Lietuvos telekomas“ ir „Tele 2“ savo paslaugų vartotojams nesuteikė galimybės gruodžio 27-ąją kalbėti švenčių dienų pokalbio tarifais.

JT Naujienos

„Lietuvos telekomas“ parduoda sporto klubą Savanorių prospekte „Minoletai“

Telekomunikacijų bendrovės „Lietuvos telekomas“ antrinė įmonė „Lintel“ kol kas už neskelbiamą sumą parduos įmonei „Minoleta“ sporto klubo pastatą Vilniaus Savanorių prospekte.

„Lietuvos telekomas“ per biržą pranešė, jog penktadienį sporto klubas bei bendrovės „Neo aljansas“ bei „Minoleta“ pasirašė dokumentus dėl dar gruodžio 1 dieną
sudaryto sandorio užbaigimo – dėl teisių ir pareigų bei turto, susijusio su sveikatingumo veikla, perleidimo.

„Lietuvos telekomo“ valdyba ne pagrindinės įmonių grupės veiklos – sveikatingumo verslo ir su juo susijusių patalpų, priklausančių įmonių grupei, pardavimui – pritarė dar šių metų spalio 18 dieną. Telekomunikacijų  bendrovė deklaruoja gryninanti savo veiklą ir atsisakanti nepagrindinės veiklos.

„Lietuvos telekomas“ dar turi vieną sporto klubą Vilniaus Lukšio gatvėje, tačiau jo kol kas neketinama parduoti. „Toliau plėtosime šio nedidelio sporto klubo veiklą, nes šio klubo turėjimas yra kaip pridėtinė vertė mūsų klientams“, – „Jūsų tarpininkui“ sakė bendrovės atstovas spaudai Rosvaldas Gorbačiovas.

„Minoleta“ Vilniuje priklauso sporto klubai „Impuls“.

Praėjusią savaitę „Lietuvos telekomas“ pranešė su Suomijos „Eltel Group Corporation“ pasirašęs sutartį dėl jam priklausančių 100 proc. ryšių statybos ir priežiūros bendrovės „Comliet“ akcijų pardavimo. Sandorį, kurio vertė neskelbiama, planuojama užbaigti 2006 metų vasario mėnesį.

Be to, „Lietuvos telekomas“ už 70,2 mln. litų pardavė aštuonis Vilniuje esančius pastatus, kuriuos įsigijo investicijų bendrovės „Invalda“ valdomas „Invaldos nekilnojamo turto fondas“.

Pagal šių metų gruodžio 8 dieną pasirašytą sutartį, penkių pastatų nuosavybės teisė iš „Lietuvos telekomo“ įmonių grupės pereina „Invaldos nekilnojamo turto fondui“ šiemet gruodžio 30 dieną, o likusių trijų pastatų – 2006 metų birželio 30 dieną.

„Lietuvos telekomas“ netiesiogiai priklauso vienai didžiausių Skandinavijos telekomunikacijų korporacijų „TeliaSonera“, kuri per savo antrinę įmonę „Amber Teleholding“ valdo 60 proc. įmonės akcijų.

JT Naujienos

Skaitmeninės televizijos diegimas klimpsta į teisminius ginčus

Lietuvos radijo ir televizijos centro (LRTC) ir bendrovės “Balticum TV” ieškinį dėl skaitmeninės televizijos diegėjų konkurso rezultatų peržiūrėjimo nagrinės Vilniaus apygardos administracinis teismas.

Tokį sprendimą priėmė speciali teisėjų kolegija ginčams dėl teismingumo spręsti.

“Nemanome, kad teismas priims sprendimą sustabdyti skaitmeninės televizijos diegimą, nors, žinoma, visko gali būti”, – BNS sakė LRTC generalinis direktorius Algirdas Vydmontas.

Ryšių reguliavimo tarnybos skelbtą konkursą skaitmeninės televizijos tinklams šalyje diegti laimėjo LRTC ir “Lietuvos telekomas”. Bendrovė “Balticum TV” konkurse taip pat dalyvavo, tačiau jo nelaimėjo.

LRTC ir “Balticum TV” laikosi nuomonės, jog RRT neturėjo pripažinti “Lietuvos telekomo” vienu iš konkurso nugalėtoju, nes šios bendrovės pateiktas pasiūlymas neatitiko konkurso sąlygų.

“Idealiausiai būtų, jei tie siųstuvai, kuriuos spės pastatyti “Lietuvos telekomas”, po konkurso rezultatų peržiūrėjimo iš telekomo būtų perpirkti”, – sakė A.Vydmontas.

Į skaitmeninės antžeminės televizijos siuntimo tinklus iki pat analoginės televizijos Lietuvoje išjungimo 2012-aisiais LRTC įsipareigojo investuoti apie 30 mln. litų. “Lietuvos telekomas” teigia į šiuos tinklus investuosiantis daugiau nei 10 mln. litų.

LRTC yra atsakingas už analoginės televizijos signalų siuntimą antžeminiu būdu, bandomaisiais tikslais retransliuoja keletą skaitmeninės televizijos kanalų.

Radijo ir televizijos komisija taip pat yra paskelbusi skaitmeninės televizijos transliavimo ir retransliavimo licencijų konkursą, kuriame dalyvauti teorines galimybes turės 28 televizijos kanalai ar retransliuotojai.

Skaitmeninė televizija gyventojams užtikrins geresnę televizijos garso ir vaizdo kokybę, taip pat kitas papildomas galimybes.

Planuojama, kad skaitmeninės televizijos transliacijos penkiuose didžiausiuose Lietuvos miestuose bus pradėtos iki 2007-ųjų pabaigos.

BNS

 

Commission approves decision of the German regulator to open up broadband markets, including very high-speed internet access (VDSL)

The European Commission today approved the amended proposal by the German telecoms regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) on the market for wholesale broadband access. Following serious doubts expressed by the Commission on 11 November 2005 with regard to the exclusion of VDSL from the market, BNetzA amended its proposal by including it. Broadband access or “bitstream” allows new entrants to provide their own broadband services (such as high speed internet access, internet telephony or IP television) to end-users by controlling the quality of the products to a high degree.

“I welcome that the German Regulator has undertaken to include VDSL into the bitstream access markets”, commented Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “This means that Deutsche Telekom’s competitors will now have access to the new infrastructure where appropriate. Given that broadband competition in Germany is weaker than in the majority of Member States and that – contrary to most EU Member States – bitstream access has so far not even been opened up to competition, these measures will play a key role in stimulating the growth of broadband in Germany ”

The amended measures of the German regulator enable competitors to compete on an equal footing with the incumbent operator Deutsche Telekom by allowing them to buy bitstream products on a wholesale basis and to compete for retail customers. Following these amendments, Deutsche Telekom needs to grant competitors access to its broadband infrastructure, including in principle its VDSL infrastructure.

In its original notification the German regulator had found that Deutsche Telekom has significant market power in the German wholesale broadband access (bitstream) markets. Unlike other European regulators who have analysed these markets so far, it had however proposed to exclude VDSL from these markets. In the Commission’s view, this would have seriously hampered the development of competition in one of the key markets in the electronic communications sector.

As far as regulatory remedies are concerned, BNetzA, under the EU rules, enjoys discretionary powers to impose appropriate obligations that do not discourage investment to new infrastructures. The remedies BNetzA intends to impose on Deutsche Telekom have not been notified to the Commission yet, but will need to be notified in the near future.

Background:

On 11 October 2005, BNetzA notified the Commission, as required by the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications, of a draft measure concerning the markets for wholesale broadband access in Germany. The notification included the market definition and the SMP designation only and proposed to exclude VDSL from these markets.

On 11 November 2006, the Commission, in line with the so-called “Article7-procedure”, expressed “serious doubts” and indicated that BNetzA had not provided sufficient evidence as to the exclusion of VDSL from the relevant market(s). The Commission subsequently invited interested parties to comment on this issue.

On 14 December 2005, BNetzA amended the notified draft measures by concluding that bitstream access to VDSL is included in the wholesale broadband access markets (together with products based on ADSL (2/2+) and SDSL) unless it proves not to be a substitute for the other access forms in these markets.
More detailed information on this case can be found at:

http://europa.eu.int/information_society/policy/ecomm/article_7/index_en.htm

On the Article 7-procedure: MEMO/05/255.

europa.eu.int

 

European Commission Green Paper on damages actions for breach of EC Treaty anti-trust rules – frequently asked questions

(see also IP/05/1634)

What does the Green Paper deal with?

The Green Paper deals with the question of damages actions for breach of EC Treaty competition rules’ ban on restrictive business practices (such as cartels) and abuse of a dominant market position as contained in Articles 81 and 82 respectively of the EC Treaty (EC antitrust rules).

Damages actions for breach of these antitrust rules are part of private enforcement of these rules. “Private enforcement” means legal action brought by one private party against another party before a national court. Private enforcement of EC Treaty competition rules can take different forms, actions for damages only being one of them. Damages actions are brought against the infringer of the law to seek a monetary award to compensate the victim for the harm he has suffered. Next to this kind of actions, private enforcement can take the form of actions for nullity or actions for injunctive relief, e.g. actions to stop anticompetitive behaviour or actions for enforcement of a contract. The Green Paper deals only with damages actions.

What is in the Green Paper?

The Green Paper addresses the key issues relevant for damages actions. Obstacles to a more effective system of damages actions for breach of EC Treaty antitrust rules are identified and for each of these obstacles, the Green Paper puts forward, for debate and possible future action, various options designed to address the underlying problem.
A Commission Staff Working Paper is attached to the actual Green Paper. In that Working Paper, the considerations underlying the options presented in the Green Paper and the sources taken into account by the Commission are explained more fully. The Green Paper and the Working Paper are available on the Commission’s website at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/antitrust/others/actions_for_damages/index_en.html

In order to prepare for the Green Paper, the Commission put out a tender for a comparative study on the current state of the law in the EU Member States. That study was done by the law firm Ashurst and was published in 2004. It is also available on the Commission’s website (see above).

What is the purpose of the Green Paper?

The Commission wants to make exercising the right to claim damages for breach of Community competition law easier. By publishing the Green Paper, the Commission wants to foster an open debate about the issue of private enforcement of EC Treaty competition law and about damages actions in particular. The Green Paper and the attached Staff Working Paper will serve as consultation documents and will give all interested parties the opportunity to comment.

How can stakeholders comment on the Green Paper?
Until 21 April 2006, comments can be sent to the Commission, using the following email address:

comp-damages-actions@cec.eu.int.

Has the Commission already decided what actions need to be taken after the Green Paper?

The Commission has not yet decided if actions – legislative or otherwise – are necessary. Nor does it yet have a view about whether any possible action is best taken at the EU level or at the level of the Member States. The Commission will take on board all comments received on the Green Paper and assess at that point what further action, if any, is needed.

What has the European Court of Justice said in its case-law on the right to claim damages for breach of EC Treaty competition law?

While there are no specific legislative rules at the EU level, it is important to recall that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in its 2001 decisionCourage vs Crehan (Case C-453/99) has ruled in the following way:

“The full effectiveness of Article [81] of the Treaty and, in particular, the practical effect of the prohibition laid down in Article [81(1)] would be put at risk if it were not open to any individual to claim damages for loss caused to him by a contract or by conduct liable to restrict or distort competition.

Indeed, the existence of such a right strengthens the working of the Community competition rules and discourages agreements or practices, which are frequently covert, which are liable to restrict or distort competition. From that point of view, actions for damages before the national courts can make a significant contribution to the maintenance of effective competition in the Community.”

According to this case-law, the right to claim damages suffered from an infringement of EC Treaty competition law is therefore derived from the EC Treaty directly. In publishing the Green Paper, the Commission seeks to render the exercise of that right more effective.

What is the current state of damages actions in Europe?

The study undertaken for the Commission by Ashurst indicates that there have been few cases to date in which damages have been awarded by national courts for breaches of EC Treaty competition law. In general, the study concludes that damage actions for breach of competition law are underdeveloped in Europe.

It is important to understand that private enforcement of EC Treaty anti-trust law is not new. Parties are, in theory, currently able in most if not all Member States to bring actions for damages for breach of EC Treaty anti-trust law (as for breach of other directly applicable EC rules). The aim of the Commission’s Green Paper is to look into why these kinds of action are so infrequent in practice and to propose some means of facilitating such actions.

What in the Commission’s view are the advantages of private actions for damages?

Advantages for companies and consumers: The enforcement of damage claims has the following specific advantages for private parties:

  • The victims of illegal anticompetitive behaviour are compensated for loss suffered.
  • Courts can order the unsuccessful party to pay the successful party’s legal costs. An undertaking’s legal costs are not recoverable in the case of a complaint to a public authority.
  • It is possible to combine a claim before a national court with national competition law or even entirely separate heads of claim. Courts can decide a competition-related point in the context of the resolution of a wider-ranging commercial dispute between the parties.
  • Courts are obliged to hear cases brought before them, while an administration has discretion to pursue other priorities.

Other advantages: greater private enforcement of Community competition law would also have inter alia the following advantages globally:

  • It would increase deterrence against infringements and increase compliance with the law.
  • Private actions will further develop a culture of competition amongst market participants, including consumers, and raise awareness of the competition rules. This will assist in making Europe more competitive, one of the key objectives of the Lisbon strategy.
  • The Commission and the national competition authorities do not have sufficient resources to deal with all cases of anticompetitive behaviour.

In essence, private enforcement of the EC Treaty competition rules in parallel to public enforcement by the Commission and the Member States’ national competition authorities (NCAs) should lead to greater enforcement of the EC Treaty competition rules by an increased number of enforcers. This in turn should contribute to the competitiveness of European industry, a central objective of the Lisbon Strategy. Damage claims are a particularly important way of private enforcement of competition law, as they serve not only the general function of providing for a better enforcement of the law in general, but also for the recovery of losses suffered by those who have been the victims of anti-competitive behaviour.

What types of infringement does the Commission think private damage actions should enforce?

Private enforcement of EC Treaty competition rules should have a complementary role to public enforcement. The activities of the public authorities will continue to be of critical importance in, for example, bringing to light hidden anti-competitive practices such as price-fixing cartels.

The Commission is keen to see increased private enforcement of the full range of competition infringements under EC law and not just additional enforcement in cases already dealt with by the public authorities (so called “follow-on actions”). Damage actions can complement public enforcement activities by providing additional financial sanctions against the infringer and by providing compensation for those who have suffered losses.

What does the Green Paper say about access to evidence and why is that an important problem?

Obtaining evidence of the alleged antitrust infringement constitutes one of the major obstacles to damages actions for private litigants. That is particularly the case when there is no prior decision from a competition authority establishing the infringement. Furthermore, the proof of the actual damage and the quantification of damage can be very difficult in competition cases. Evidence is often held by the infringer. This is why the question of evidence is of particular importance in this field.

The Green Paper puts forward for debate several options designed to deal with problems faced by a potential claimant. These options deal – in various ways – with obligations of the defendant to turn over certain documents to the claimant. Also, the burden and standard of proof required could be adapted to the information asymmetry existing between the claimant and the defendant. One option in this respect could be to make decisions of national competition authorities which establish an infringement of EC Treaty competition rules binding on civil courts in follow-on actions.

Should collective actions for damages claims be introduced?

Given the costs of litigation and the low value of their individual claim, it is unlikely that individual consumers will in practice be in a position to bring a damages action against the infringer. There may, however, be value in fostering the recovery of losses suffered by consumers. Therefore, the Green Paper puts forward for debate several options designed to address this problem:

  • firstly, it must be considered whether Small Claims Procedures can play a role in providing effective redress for consumers
  • alternatively, thought should be given as to whether a form of collective consumer redress should be available, such as a right of action for consumer associations. This option for pursuing protection of consumer interests harmed by a violation of EC antitrust rules would have to be closely coordinated with other initiatives on consumer redress.

Will private damages claims not endanger the effectiveness of the leniency programme?

Private damage claims and leniency programmes share a common aim: the prevention of cartels being entered into in the first place. Companies understand that anti-competitive agreements are illegal under EC and national competition law and that infringement of these rules carries great risks both in terms of fines and in terms of civil liability. By increasing the likelihood of discovery of secret cartels, the leniency programme is part of this system of deterrence (see IP/02/247 and MEMO/02/23). The likelihood of being found out because of leniency applications and the strength of both public enforcement (fines) and private enforcement (civil liability through damage claims) all serve to deter undertakings from entering into anti-competitive agreements in the first place, thus driving the number of cartels down.

It is, however, possible that some degree of influence exists between damage actions and the operation of leniency programmes. It must therefore be carefully considered how to bring about an optimal coordination of public and private enforcement. In this respect, the Green Paper puts forward several options. These include:

  • non-discoverability of leniency applications. By making sure that such applications do not have to be turned over to claimants in those jurisdictions where disclosure requirements exist, this option ensures the confidential nature of the leniency programme
  • the possibility to lessen the civil liability of a leniency applicant. A reduction of the claim against the leniency applicant would concern only the leniency applicant and would leave the civil liability of the other cartel members – who are jointly and severally liable for the entirety of the loss suffered – unchanged.

Is the Commission considering introducing treble damages claims in Europe?

In the US, damage awards based on infringement of US federal antitrust law are automatically trebled. While a jury decides on the award itself, the trebling of the award as found by the jury is done at a later stage by the court.

The Commission does not put forward as an option the introduction of treble damages. However, in order to create a sufficient incentive to bring the action in relation to the most serious infringements (cartels), the Commission suggests, for debate, the option of introducing double damages for cartels. The award of such double damages could be automatic, or at the discretion of the court hearing the case.

Does the Commission want to introduce a US-style litigation culture in Europe?

No – the Commission seeks to encourage a competition culture, not a litigation culture. The Commission is aware that there is a fear that fostering private damage actions might lead to a litigation culture and might increase the risk of unmeritorious claims being brought. However,

  • the options put forward by the Commission for debate would not lead to a rise in unmeritorious litigation.
  • The Commission has confidence in the judges of the Member States to properly adjudicate and deal with the cases brought before them. The Commission trusts judges to take the appropriate actions – according to their own national legal systems – to avoid unmeritorious litigation and abuse of process.
  • The Commission is striving for a balanced approach to these questions and will certainly take these concerns into account in deciding on any possible follow up to the Green

    europa.eu.int

Commission launches consultations on facilitating damages claims for breaches of EU competition law

The European Commission has published a Green Paper on how to facilitate actions for damages caused by violations of EC Treaty competition rules’ ban on restrictive business practices and abuse of dominant market positions (Articles 81 and 82 respectively). Violations of these rules, in particular by price fixing cartels, can cause considerable damage to companies and consumers but numerous obstacles can hinder actions for damages by injured parties in national courts. The Green Paper identifies certain of these obstacles, such as access to evidence and the quantification of damages, and presents various options for debate for their removal. The options set out in the Green Paper would seek to ensure that companies and consumers were compensated for their losses, while avoiding vexatious claims. Comments on the Green Paper can be submitted by 21 April 2006.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “Businesses and individuals who suffer losses because of illegal activities such as cartels have a right to compensation. Currently, this right is all too often theoretical because of obstacles to exercising this right in practice. This Green Paper sets out options for making that right a reality, and so making companies that break the competition rules pay for the harm that they do.”

In its 2001 judgment, in Courage v Crehan (case C-453/99), the Court of Justice explicitly recognised a right to damages for breaches of EC competition lawThe Court stated that:

“the full effectiveness of Article [81] of the Treaty and, in particular, the practical effect of the prohibition laid down in Article [81](1) would be put at risk if it were not open to any individual to claim damages for loss caused to him by a contract or by conduct liable to restrict or distort competition. Indeed, the existence of such a right strengthens the working of the Community competition rules and discourages agreements or practices, which are frequently covert, which are liable to restrict or distort competition. From that point of view, actions for damages before the national courts can make a significant contribution to the maintenance of effective competition in the Community.”

However, there have so far been very few damages claims before courts of the Member States for breach of the competition rules. A study carried out for the Commission in 2004 revealed the main reasons for the low number of damages actions, reasons which are now addressed in the Green Paper. Following this study, the Commission discussed the issue with academics, experts from EU Member States’ governments and a number of other interested third parties before preparing this Green Paper.

Strengthening damages claims by companies and consumers has several advantages:

  • it ensures that businesses and consumers harmed by anti-competitive activity are compensated for their losses
  • it enhances the overall level of respect for the EC competition rules by discouraging companies from engaging in anti-competitive activity
  • it brings the benefits of Community law closer to the citizen.

The Green Paper identifies the main obstacles to a more efficient system for bringing damages claims, such as access to evidence, the defence that companies claiming damages may have simply passed on any price increases to their own customers and the quantification of damages. For each of the obstacles, several options are put forward for debate. As the Green Paper also addresses the protection of consumer interests harmed by a violation of EC antitrust rules, the Commission will closely coordinate any follow up with other initiatives on consumer redress.

Consultation
The texts of the Green Paper and an accompanying Staff Working Paper are available at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/antitrust/others/actions_for_damages/index_en.html

The Commission invites all interested parties to comment on the issues discussed and on the options formulated with regard to these issues, as well as on any other aspects of damages claims for violations of Articles 81 and 82. The comments will help the Commission to decide whether initiatives need to be taken at Community level to improve the conditions for competition damages claims.
Comments should be sent to the following email address by Friday 21 April 2006:

comp-damages-actions@cec.eu.int

For further information, see also MEMO/05/489.

europa.eu.int

NTT kovos dėl abonentų teisės paskambinti į 800-uosius numerius

UAB „Nacionalinis telekomunikacijų tinklas“ (NTT) sieks, kad jos fiksuoto ryšio abonentai galėtų paskambinti 800-osios (nemokamų skambučių) linijos numeriais. NTT kreipėsi į AB „Lietuvos telekomas“, reikalaudama sudaryti skambučių siuntimo iš NTT tinklo į 800-uosius numerius galimybę.
„AB „Lietuvos telekomas“ 800-osios linijos paslaugų užsakovams nesudaro galimybių pasirinkti, kad į jų numerius būtų galima paskambinti iš NTT tinklo. Mūsų nuomone, tuo pažeidžiama 2004 m. liepos 15 d. NTT ir „Lietuvos telekomo“ pasirašyta Telekomunikacijų tinklų sujungimo sutartis, pagal kurią „Lietuvos telekomas“ turi nukreipti NTT perduodamą skambutį į 800-osios paslaugos teikėjo nurodytą prieigos tašką. Be to, tai prieštarauja ir Konkurencijos įstatymui, draudžiančiam piktnaudžiauti dominuojančia padėtimi rinkoje atliekant veiksmus, kurie nepagrįstai varžo kitų ūkio subjektų galimybes veikti rinkoje bei pažeidžia vartotojų interesus“, – pabrėžė NTT direktorius Vidas Pukėnas.
Kaip paaiškėjo atlikus 800-ąsias linijas turinčių įmonių apklausą, daugelis šių įmonių net nežino, kad toli gražu ne visų tinklų abonentai gali joms paskambinti.
UAB „Laimutės Žilinskienės tyrimų instituto“ vykdyto tyrimo metu buvo apklaustos 105 įmonės, teikiančios 800-osios linijos paslaugas. Net 50 proc. apklaustų įmonių klaidingai įsitikinusios, kad joms gali paskambinti visų Lietuvos ryšio tinklų abonentai. 27 proc. įmonių yra gavę nusiskundimų dėl to, jog ne visų operatorių abonentai gali susisiekti su jomis.
„Telekomas teigia, kad nė vienas iš 800-osios paslaugos užsakovų nėra užsisakęs skambučių pasiekiamumo iš mūsų tinklo, todėl jie ir nepasiekiami NTT abonentams. Tačiau mūsų turima informacija rodo, kad telekomas 800-osios paslaugos teikėjus informuoja tik apie galimybę būti pasiekiamiems iš mobiliųjų tinklų, bet ne iš NTT bei kitų alternatyvių fiksuoto ryšio teikėjų abonentų. Todėl 800-osios paslaugos teikėjai daugeliu atvejų net nežino, jog gali būti pasiekiami iš visų tinklų“, – teigė NTT vadovas V.Pukėnas.
42 proc. apklaustų respondentų teigė, kad telekomas neinformavo jų įmonių nuomonės apie poreikį priimti skambučius iš kitų tinklų (35 proc. teigė buvo informuoti, 23 proc. – nežino). 55 proc. įmonių pageidautų, jog ir NTT abonentai galėtų prisiskambinti jų 800-ąja linija. Be to, 77 proc. įmonių norėtų, kad telekomas pateiktų detalesnę informaciją apie galimybę prisiskambinti 800-ąja linija ir kitų tinklų abonentams.
„Nesudarant techninių galimybių 800-ąją linija skambinti visiems abonentams, pažeidžiami ir vartotojų interesai – pvz., ne visi norintys gali paskambinti psichologinės ar kitos pagalbos telefono numeriais“, – tvirtino V.Pukėnas.

www.ntt.lt

Commission discussion paper on abuse of dominance – frequently asked questions

MEMO/05/486

Brussels, 19th December 2005

Commission discussion paper on abuse of dominance – frequently asked questions

(see also IP/05/1626)

The Discussion Paper only addresses exclusionary abuses. Does that mean that the review does not cover exploitative and discriminatory abuses?

No. The Commission is also reviewing its policy towards exploitative and discriminatory abuses. The work has started but is not yet at the state of public consultation.

Will the Discussion Paper eventually be turned into Commission Guidelines on Article 82?

It is too early to say. The first step is to see the results of the public consultation. It is clear that the Commission would like to give guidance on the application of Article 82, but the Commission will reflect on the precise form this guidance will take following the consultation.

Do the proposals made in the Discussion Paper indicate that the Commission wants to change its policy radically or pursue Article 82 infringements less vigorously?

Not at all. The Commission simply wants to develop and explain theories of harm on the basis of a sound economic assessment for the most frequent types of abusive behaviour to make it easier to understand its policy. The Commission will continue to pursue vigorously exclusionary conduct by dominant companies which is likely to harm competition and thereby consumers.

Is the purpose of the review to align Community competition law with the law of other jurisdictions?

Discussions with other competition authorities show an increasing consensus on the principles of competition law enforcement, and the Commission anticipates that this convergence will continue. However convergence with other jurisdictions is not the purpose of the review. The purpose is rather to ensure a consistent policy on the basis of sound economic assessments. Convergence may be a positive side-benefit of the deliberations going on both in Europe and in other jurisdictions.

Will the proposals in the Discussion Paper lead to increased legal uncertainty because of the complicated economic analysis needed?

The only way to have “absolute” legal certainty is to say clearly that certain types of conduct are always illegal (or legal). This is the right solution only when the conduct almost always is harmful to consumers, as, for instance, the fixing of prices by cartels. Most of the types of conduct covered by Article 82 can have both anti-competitive and pro-competitive effects and therefore cannot always be legal or illegal. The challenge is therefore to identify the core economic concern, and then to create transparent and workable proxies as rules for when such conduct is indeed illegal. The ultimate objective is to design a workable and operational tool both for making enforcement decisions by competition authorities and for dominant companies to know whether their conduct is legal. This is the aim behind the proposals made in the Discussion Paper.

The Commission is promoting private damage claims in national courts. Will the proposals in the Discussion Paper not make the application of Article 82 by national courts more difficult in view of the increased emphasis on economic analysis?

The Discussion Paper proposes an approach focusing on “economic effects”. This means that it aims at distinguishing those kinds of behaviour that are likely to harm competition and thereby consumers and the circumstances in which such harm is likely to occur. By presenting a framework for analysis of competitive harm, the paper invites courts to ask the right questions. Although it will be necessary for courts to weigh the economic evidence presented to them, the paper is intended to help them to identify which elements of the evidence are relevant and determine the relative importance of those elements. There is no contradiction between economic analysis and private damage claims; and there is no evidence that jurisdictions with more economic analysis have fewer private damage claims.

With the review of its Article 82 policy, is the Commission admitting that some of its decisions adopted in the past were decided wrongly? If such cases are still pending, should they not be withdrawn by the Commission?

No. There is nothing in the discussion paper that calls into question any of the Commission’s past decisions. At the same time, the Commission must always work to improve its decisions and its policies. The review is about a better focus and a better argumentation in future cases. Furthermore, the fact that if the discussion paper leads to a more refined economic analysis, the Commission would in future argue a case in a different way than in the past, does not mean that the decision taken in a past case was wrong, only that the argumentation would today have been different.

How will the Commission make sure that the national competition agencies and national courts follow any guidelines it may decide to adopt?

The Commission cannot require national competition agencies and national courts to follow Commission guidelines. However, the Discussion Paper has been discussed extensively with the national competition authorities and so will any possible future guidelines. It is therefore likely that there will be a good deal of agreement on the content on such guidelines among the competition authorities. It is also likely that such agreement will be reflected in the interpretations of national courts. Ultimately it is, however, the European Courts that will decide on whether the Commission’s approach is correct.

europa.eu.int

 

Commission publishes discussion paper on abuse of dominance

Brussels, 19th December 2005

Competition: Commission publishes discussion paper on abuse of dominance

The European Commission has published a Staff Discussion Paper on the application of EC Treaty competition rules on the abuse of a dominant market position (Article 82). The Discussion Paper is designed to promote a debate as to how EU markets are best protected from dominant companies’ exclusionary conduct, conduct which risks weakening competition on a market. The paper suggests a framework for the continued rigorous enforcement of Article 82, building on the economic analysis carried out in recent cases, and setting out one possible methodology for the assessment of some of the most common abusive practices, such as tying, and rebates and discounts. Other forms of abuse, such as discriminatory and exploitative conduct, will be the subject of further work by the Commission in 2006. The Commission is inviting comments on the present discussion paper by 31 March 2006.

Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said “I will rigorously enforce the Treaty’s prohibition on abusive conduct. Dominant companies should be allowed to compete effectively. Putting this policy objective into a consistent legal and economic framework is an ambitious project, but it is worthwhile for the clarity it will give to companies and their advisers. Our fundamental aim is to ensure that the EU’s powers to intervene against monopoly abuses are applied consistently and effectively, not only by the Commission but also by national competition agencies and courts throughout the EU which also now apply EU competition law. This discussion paper is the first step, and I want a wide discussion before taking a firm view on the proposals in the paper and before deciding how best to apply the results of these discussions.”

Article 82 of the EC Treaty prohibits the abuse of a dominant position. Abuses are commonly divided into exclusionary abuses, those which exclude competitors from the market, and exploitative abuses, those where the dominant company exploits its market power by – for example – charging excessive prices. The discussion paper deals only with exclusionary abuses.

The paper describes a general framework for analysing abusive exclusionary conduct by a dominant company. Where a dominant company is present on a market, competition on that market is already weak. The concern of the competition rules is therefore to prevent conduct by that dominant company which risks weakening competition still further, and harming consumers, whether that harm is likely to occur in the short, medium or long term.

For price based conduct, such as rebates, the paper sets out arguments as to whether only that conduct which would risk the exclusion of equally efficient competitors should be considered as abusive.

The paper also considers whether efficiencies should be taken into account under Article 82, and, if so, how. If taken into account the claimed efficiencies would have to outweigh the restrictive effect of the conduct in question.

The Commission wants to concentrate its resources on those anti-competitive practices that are most likely to cause harm to consumers. As a result it has recently increased its enforcement activities against cartels. The proposals made in the Discussion Paper on Article 82 would in a similar way imply a strong focus on those abuses of dominant positions most likely to harm consumers.

The Commission is consulting widely on the discussion paper. It has already discussed the paper with representatives of Member States and is now opening the consultation to the public. As part of this consultation process the Commission will hold a public hearing in Spring 2006 on abuse of dominance, and in particular the suggested framework set out in the discussion paper.

Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the discussion paper before 31 March 2006.
The DG Competition Discussion Paper is available at:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/antitrust/others/article_82_review.html

For further information, see MEMO/05/486.

europa.eu.int

Net 30 tūkstančių „Lietuvos telekomo” abonentų gali klausyti kas tik nori

„Nemažai žmonių net neįtaria, kad jų telefoniniai pokalbiai yra perduodami radijo bangomis ir jų gali klausyti kas tik nori. Tuo išsiskiria senasis „Comliet” tinklas su NMT ryšiu, kurį iki šiol sėkmingai naudoja „Telekomas”.

Klausymo principas gana paprastas. Tereikia turėti paprasčiausią radijo „skenerį” arba imtuvą su kiek platesniu nei įprasta priėmimo diapazonu. Žinant, kokiais dažniais veikia NTM ryšys, galima nesunkiai klausyti, apie ką kalbasi žmonės”, – pasakojo „Ekstra žinioms” talkinęs elektronikos inžinierius.

Naudojo legalų prietaisą

„Ekstra žinių” žurnalistas ryžosi patikrinti, ar iš tiesų telefoninių pokalbių turinys gali tapti žinomas bet kuriam smalsuoliui. Šiam žingsniui paskatino duomenų saugos srityje dirbantis elektronikos specialistas.

Sutikęs pademonstruoti, kaip tai daroma, elektronikas nenaudojo ypač sudėtingos ir brangios technikos. Į sutartą vietą jis atsinešė japonų gamybos radijo „skenerį”.

„Šį prietaisą prieš kurį laiką legaliai pirkau vienoje Vilniaus įmonėje. Prekiauti šiais daiktais ir juos turėti niekas nedraudžia”, – pasakojo elektronikas.

 

Tiesa, eksperimento pradžioje elektronikos specialistas ketino pademonstruoti, kaip pokalbių klausomasi pigiu kinišku radijo imtuvu, tačiau turguje šių pigių prietaisų kaip tyčia tą dieną nebuvo pirkti.

 

Aptarinėjo pareigūno papirkimą

Pirmąją eksperimento dalį atlikome Kauno centre. „Skenuojant” eterį tam tikrame diapazone iš pradžių girdėjosi tik trukdžiai. Po kelių minučių eteryje pavyko aptikti pirmąjį pokalbį.

 

Telefonu kalbėjusi moteris savo draugei guodėsi, kad į Angliją dirbti išvykęs jos sūnus susirado „kažkokią mergą” iš Panevėžio, su ja kartu gyvena.

Rūpestingoji mama sielojosi, kad toji „merga” suvedžios jos atžalą ir bus labai blogai.

Kitas pokalbis buvo kur kas įdomesnis.

Žmonės diskutavo apie žemės grąžinimo problemą ir karštai aptarinėjo, kokį kyšį reikėtų nunešti žinomai Kauno valdininkei. Diskusija baigėsi tuo, kad abu pašnekovai taip ir nesutarė – „kiek ji ima”.

Nuspręsta paskambinti, jų manymu, kyšį davusiam žmogui ir jo paklausti, kokia yra „taksa”.

Kauno centre pavyko užfiksuoti dar kelis telefoninius pokalbius, tačiau jų turinys buvo banalus ir gyvenimiškas. Gyvenimo bėdų prislėgtas vyriškis derėjosi su keliomis statybinėmis įmonėmis, kitas pašnekovas desperatiškai bandė užsisakyti pirtį kažkokiam pokyliui.

Rezultatai pribloškė

„Mieste klausyti pokalbių neįdomu. Važiuojame į užmiestį, ten bus daug linksmiau. Sužinosite, kuo gyvena Lietuvos kaimas”, – paragino elektronikos specialistas. Sustojome už kelių dešimčių kilometrų nuo Kauno, ant aukštos kalvos.

 

Pirmieji rezultatai pribloškė.

 

Eteris tiesiog buvo perpildytas asmeninių žmonių pokalbių. Nenaudodamas nei įmantrių antenų, nei stiprintuvų elektronikas savo radijo „skeneriu” per trumpą laiką aptiko daugiau nei dešimt įdomaus turinio telefoninių pokalbių.

 

Rypaudama kaimietė savo draugei guodėsi antra savaitė geriančiu vyru ir bandė gauti patarimą, kaip nutraukti šias gertynes. Kiti eteriu sklidę pokalbiai buvo taip pat kasdieniški.

 

Kaimiečiai kalbėjosi apie mėšlą, raugintus kopūstus, skundėsi staiga atšalusiu oru, aptarinėjo naujausius gandus, apkalbinėjo kaimynus.

 

Kažkokios žemės ūkio bendrovės darbuotojas keikdamasis kalbėjosi su darbininku, o statybininkai derėjosi dėl sunkvežimio nuomos.

 

Vargu ar bent vienas žmogus suprato, kad jų privatūs pokalbiai telefonu taip nesunkiai gali būti pasiklausomi.

Naudoja „Comliet” tinklą

„Ekstra žinių” eksperimento metu visi išgirsti pokalbiai vyko „Lietuvos telekomo” abonentams naudojantis analogininio NMT ryšio sistemomis.

 

Kadaise šio standarto mobiliojo ryšio paslaugas teikė bendrovė „Comliet”. Mobiliojo ryšio pionierę įsigijus „Telekomui”, jo žinion perėjo visas ryšio tinklas.

 

„Telekomas” NMT ryšio sistemas sumontuoja tose vietovėse, kur nėra galimybės teikti laidinės telefonijos paslaugas arba kabelio atvedimas kainuotų itin brangiai. Sudarius sutartį, ryšininkai sumontuoja stacionarią NMT ryšio sistemą, o namo išorėje iškelia į bazinę stotį nukreiptą anteną.

 

Prie stacionaraus NMT imtuvo-siųstuvo prijungiamas paprastas telefono aparatas ir galima kalbėti į valias.

 

Pasak bendrovės „Lietuvos telekomas” generalinio direktoriaus pavaduotojo, Technologijų tarnybos vadovo Dariaus Didžgalvio, šiuo metu bendrovė turi apie 30 tūksančių šiuo ryšiu besinaudojančių abonentų.

Turėtų informuoti klientus

Deja, analoginis NMT ryšys neturi jokios apsaugos nuo pasiklausymo. Panaudojus tam tikrą įrangą nesunkiai galima sekti konkrečių abonentų pokalbius, juos įrašinėti.

 

Savaime suprantama, „Lietuvos telekomas” nesigiria, jog apie 30 tūkstančių abonentų naudojasi neapsaugotu ryšiu.

 

Galima tik numanyti, kad šie žmonės neturėtų labai nudžiugti sužinoję, kad asmeniniai pokalbiai nesunkiai gali tapti žinomi praktiškai bet kam.

 

„Kad šis ryšys yra nesaugus, žinome jau seniai. Manau, kad paslaugos teikėjas gal ir turėtų informuoti abonentus apie pokalbių paklausymo galimybę”, – „Ekstra žinioms” teigė Ryšių reguliavimo tarnybos direktoriaus pavaduotojas Romualdas Leonavičius.

 

„Ekstra žinių” žurnalisto domėjimasis nesaugiu ryšiu nė kiek nenudžiugimo „Lietuvos telekomo” atstovų.

Į klausimą, ar netaikant NMT ryšio kodavimo ar kitų apsaugos nuo pasiklausymo priemonių, nėra pažeidžiamos abonentų teisės į privatumą, „Lietuvos telekomo” generalinio direktoriaus pavaduotojas D.Didžgalvis atsakė itin miglotai.

Didelės problemos nemato

„Daugumą pasaulyje naudojamų technologijų telefonijoje galima pasiklausyti. Juk ir tobulesnis GSM ryšys nėra saugus. Tačiau pasaulyje, taip pat ir Lietuvoje, jis plačiai naudojamas. Manome, kad po visokiais debatais apie esą nesaugius pokalbius analoginiu ryšiu slypi mobiliųjų operatorių interesas. Mes galvojame, kad tokios neetiškos konkurencijos būdais vyksta naujų klientų medžioklė”, – „Ekstra žinioms” aiškino „Lietuvos telekomo” generalinio direktoriaus pavaduotojas D.Didžgalvis.

Ekstra žinios