On 16 June 2014, ComReg issued Vodafone with a notice of intention to prosecute as a result of Vodafone’s failure to provide certain information requested by ComReg in its leased lines market review.
The legal basis for ComReg’s enforcement action against Vodafone is section 13D of the Communications Regulation Acts 2002-2011 (the “Act”). This section confers on ComReg a wide ranging power to request information from telecoms undertakings as ComReg “considers necessary to enable it to carry out its functions”, and is often used by ComReg eg, when requesting data to compile its Key Quarterly Reports. Failure to comply with a section 13D information request is a summary offence and attracts fines of up to €5,000. Alternatively, ComReg can apply to the Irish High Court for a compliance order.
However, instead of seeking to bring summary proceedings or an order of compliance against Vodafone, ComReg used section 44 of the Act which enables ComReg to first issue a notice of intention to prosecute. The notice issued to Vodafone on 16 June confirms that if within 21 days of the notice Vodafone provides the information to ComReg and pays ComReg a sum of €1,500 ComReg will not take the matter any further.
In a warning to others, ComReg notes in the closing statement of the notice that it “will continue to monitor the compliance of other operators with similar requests made to them under Section 13D and will take appropriate action as necessary”. So next time a section 13D requests lands in your inbox be sure that it is being actioned appropriately – you have been warned!