Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) said on July 2 that it has fined telecom carrier Mobiltel 362 000 leva (about 185 000 euro) for device giveaways, which the regulator said was an unfair trade practice.
CPC said that the fine was the result of a complaint filed by several small cable operators, who claimed that the carrier offered devices such as phones, laptops and TV sets for free as part of a promotional campaign to its subscribers.
The regulator said that its investigation found that Mobiltel – a subsidiary of Telekom Austria, which operates under the M-Tel brand and is Bulgaria’s largest carrier by customer base – did engage in the practices described by the plaintiffs in October and November 2012, breaching competition legislation.
The regulator had fined Mobiltel earlier in this case, but its decision was overruled by the administrative courts, which ruled that CPC should review its decision because it had committed procedural breaches. As a result, the regulator opened a new case in 2014 and, having reviewed the evidence, ruled that Mobiltel was in breach of competition law, imposing the fine, which was equal to 0.05 per cent of Mobiltel’s turnover in 2014.
The fine can be appealed within a period of 14 days at the Supreme Administrative Court, the regulator said.