The European Commission has conducted surprise investigations at the premises of Slovak Telekom, the leading telecommunications operator in Slovakia, in an investigation into alleged infringement of Article 82 EC which prohibits abuse of a dominant market position. The operator is suspected of refusing to supply rivals, margin squeezing and tying, possibly as part of an overall strategy to exclude competitors from the market. The raid is part of the Commission’s initial investigation. The Commission has no deadline for concluding the investigation; its duration depends on a number of factors including the complexity of the case and the exercise of rights of defence.
This investigation is taking place against an interesting background because in the early 2000s, the Slovak Competition Authority had already found that Slovak Telekom’s behaviour distorted competition in the market for electronic communication services. An initial fine was imposed in 2005 but was overturned by the Slovak courts. A second fine of EUR 29 million was imposed in 2008, which Slovak Telekom reportedly intends to appeal.