The College of Competition Prosecutors' decision followed a complaint lodged by Base in June 2004. According to Base, Belgacom abused its dominance from 1999 to 2003 by forcing Base to apply too low international mobile termination rates, as well as by charging excessive tariffs for transit services for international calls towards Base's network.
The College of Competition Prosecutors first ruled on market definition and, based on the case law of the European Commission and the Belgian Telecom Regulator, took into consideration two markets. First, the market for international transit services for call termination in Belgium, on which Belgacom was held to have had a dominant position during the period 1999-2004 mainly due to its high market share. Secondly, the market for call termination on Base's network, on which Base, as a monopolist, was held to have a dominant position.
On the alleged abuse of dominance by Belgacom, the College of Competition Prosecutors was of the opinion that it could not be demonstrated that Belgacom had imposed a purchase price for mobile termination which was lower than the real value of the purchased service on Base. On the basis of the evidence brought forward and the tariffs applied by Belgacom to its principal customers, as well to its own mobile telephony subsidiary Proximus, the College also rejected Base's argument that Belcacom applied excessive or discriminatory tariffs for transit services for incoming international calls.
In light of the above, the College of Competition Prosecutors closed the case in December 2009. This is the second time that the College of Competition Prosecutors has closed a case against Belgacom. It did so for the first time on the basis of an assessment of enforcement priorities and available resources in September 2009, following a complaint of alleged abuse of dominance by Belgacom in relation to its fixed telephony business through its 'Benefit Excellence' offer (Belgian competition law report 2009/Q3). However, on 26 May 2009, the Competition Council fined Belgacom € 66,3 million for abuse of dominance on the market for mobile telephony in 2004 and 2005 (Belgian competition law report 2009/Q2).