On June 22, 2011, the European Commission (EC) fined Telekomunikacja Polska (TP), the incumbent telecoms operator in Poland, EUR127 million for limiting access to its wholesale broadband access products in Poland. This was an abuse of its dominant position, in breach of EU competition law. The decision followed complaints from smaller downstream retail broadband competitors active in Poland.
The case concerned types of refusal to supply by TP and will be of interest to dominant companies active in the EU as well as their competitors and customers. The particular abusive activities identified by the EC were: proposing unreasonable conditions for access; delaying the negotiation process; rejecting orders in an unjustifiable manner; and refusing to provide reliable and accurate information to alternative operators.
The case also provides a useful reminder that a complaint to the EC (or a national competition regulator in the EU) can be a useful commercial strategy. The decision should in principle ensure that TP no longer engages in these activities. In addition, the complainants and other third parties will be able to use the decision as a basis for private claims for damages.