18.10.16 Telenor Fined over 5 mln by CPC as a result of Max Telecom’s complaint
The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) imposed a financial penalty on "Telenor Bulgaria" JSC for publicly disseminating false information about the characteristics of their 4G LTE network. CPC establishes that "Telenor Bulgaria" JSC has committed an infringement of Art. 31 of the Law on Protection of Competition and imposes a penalty of 1% of net sales of the company for the financial year 2015, equal to 5 241 930 BGN (five million two hundred forty-one thousand nine hundred and thirty). The duration of the infringement is about 10 months (November 26, 2015 - present), since to date there are misleading posts on the site of "Telenor Bulgaria" JSC about speeds in its 4G LTE network.
The proceeding started in April 2016 as a result of a complaint by mobile telecommunications operator Max, who states that have incurred real damages due to Telenor‘s act in bad faith.
The decision of the CPC states: "The possibility of misleading the current and potential customers of “Telenor Bulgaria" JSC on the data transfer speed through 4G LTE network is completely real. The statement of about 40 times faster upload at the beginning of the campaign is significantly exaggerated, as the achievable maximum speed of upload, after the occurrence of the regulatory requirement for publication, proves only about 6.5 times higher than that of Telenor’s 3G network."
Regarding the Telenor’s 4G network launch event in the CPC’s Decision is written: "at the press conference Telenor’s representatives said that the maximum upload speed is 75 Mbps, which far surpasses the maximum speed they have mentioned since April 30 on, namely 38 Mbps. This significant exaggeration of the data is likely to influence consumer attitudes to the extent that there is a significant shift of customers to the network of Telenor in the period - November 2015 - April 2016."
"With the release of its 4G LTE network Telenor deceived the consumers and thus it could affect their economic behavior when choosing mobile Internet. Max behaves as an earnest competitor and we expect the same from the other telecoms on the market too, even from those that have more resources than Max as part of a large international group. We want to be clearly understood. We are not against competition. On the contrary - Max is the biggest proponent of high-speed mobile Internet in Bulgaria, but we do not agree "big" players to try by all means, even with attacks, to destroy "little" competitors". - says the CEO of Max Neycho Velichkov.
The Decision can be found on the website of the CPC.