Telenor confronts $106 million fine in Norway

Norway’s telecoms operator Telenor risks a €100 million fine for abuse of a dominant market position, the country’s competition authority warned on Wednesday.

Telenor said it has received a draft decision from the Norwegian Competition Authority related to an alleged breach of the Norwegian Competition Act section 11, which prohibits any abuse of a dominant position.The Authority alleges that Telenor has restricted competition in Norway through price terms and a double roaming prohibition in wholesale agreements from 2010 to 2014, the company said.

“Infringements of the Competition Act’s ban on abuse of a dominant position are very serious, and the notified fine of 906 million kroner (€100 million, $106 million) underlines this,”

-the competition authority’s director general Lars Sørgard said in a statement.

“Our preliminary view is that Telenor abused its dominant position by engaging in conduct that impeded the entry of a third competing mobile network,”

-the watchdog said in a statement.

Telenor said it was “surprised” by the watchdog’s assessment and that it disagreed with it. “We will go thoroughly through (the assessment) and decide how we are going to answer (it),” the company said in a separate statement.

Norway is one of the few European countries to have only two telecoms networks in Telenor and Sweden’s Telia.The authority’s director Gjermund Nese said the entry of a third network is crucial to increasing competition and “guaranteeing a good supply of (mobile) services at the lowest price possible”.

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