Bulgarian telecom says can increase prices despite ‘ban’ order

One of Bulgaria’s three major telecom carriers appeared to indicate on December 30 that it intended to push ahead with plans for service fee increases, despite Bulgarian authorities’ moves to “ban” the initial proposal.

A1 Bulgaria, the subsidiary of A1 Telekom Austria Group, said in a statement that the order signed by the head of Bulgaria’s consumer watchdog did not in fact prevent the telecom from raising prices.

Instead, the Consumer Protection Commission merely “did not accept the company’s plan to carry out the price indexation in one step instead of two, delaying it by the maximum amount of time possible,” the company said in a statement.

A1 Bulgaria said that it had the right to increase the prices “for many years but we never used it”, as it tried to absorb the “inflation hit.”

“In the long term, this is no longer possible and the increase is inevitable, if minimal in size,” the company said.

A1 Bulgaria said that the political opposition from the Economy Ministry was “dictated by populism and not the best interests of consumers.”

Economy Minister Kornelia Ninova has been one of the vocal opponents of the proposed price increase, but the telecom blamed the ministry for failing to communicate directly with the company to find “a mutually beneficial solution, instead of [using] pressure and non-market messages, which is unacceptable to us.”

(A1 logo: a1.bg)

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