Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said on July 12 that it has fined the country’s largest mobile carrier Mtel, owned by Telekom Austria, 440 000 leva for unfair competition.
The ruling follows a complaint lodged by an association of small and medium-sized cable TV operators and focuses on a promotional campaign run by Mtel in October 12. As part of this campaign, the carrier offered bundled services – voice, data and cable TV – as well as a device that consumers could choose, including a laptop, a new phone or TV decoder.
The antitrust watchdog ruled that the high cost of the free devices offered by the carrier exceeded the legal ceiling stipulated by law, boosting the promotional offer’s appeal based on factors other than the quality of service (namely, the free devices) and had a negative impact on competition on the market.
The promotional offer was available to new Mtel customers, which “created the opportunity to attract customers of Mtel’s competitors, stimulated by the desire to receive a ‘free gift’ in addition to the services bundle,” the regulator said.