In late 2012 the High Administrative Court of Macedonia issued a final ruling on a challenged Administrative Court judgment. It confirmed that Macedonian Telekom had abused its dominant position by imposing excessive prices for the lease of digital lines.
Macedonian Telekom leased lines to internet providers under conditions which restricted competition. Internet providers, which needed to lease lines from Macedonian Telekom in order to provide internet access to their customers, paid a higher lease price than that which Macedonian Telekom charged its own end users for internet symmetrical access (a service providing direct internet access and a leased line). This behaviour was regarded excessive pricing. The court noted that Macedonian Telekom did not have separate pricing for the lease of lines to its own end consumers and wholesalers (internet service providers), which was considered an act of abuse.
The court's decision marked the end of a lengthy procedure which was initiated by internet service provider Ultranet Unet dooel in 2006. The first decision was rendered in 2007 by the Macedonian Competition Authority , which ruled that Macedonian Telekom had abused its dominant position. However, there followed several retrials before different courts; the procedure was concluded in this final ruling after six years of proceedings.
According to the information provided by the Macedonian Competition Authority, the proceeding for rendering the fine was initiated against Macedonian Telekom. In the first decision (subsequently annulled by the Administrative Court), the fine imposed was €2.4 million. Besides this case, Macedonian Telekom was also found to have abused its dominant position by charging a special fee for issuing monthly invoices or bills, with different pricing for different groups of subscribers. The fine imposed in this case was €1 million.
Originally published on International Law Office
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