Finnish regulatory authority and EU disagree on TeliaSonera market position
The European Commission has rejected plans by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA) to curb the overwhelming market position of telecommunications service provider TeliaSonera in the mobile telephone market.
The Commission did not see the position of TeliaSonera to be so dominant that it can be oblivious to decisions made by its competitors.
FICORA says that competition among GSM mobile telephone operators does not work as it should.
Because of its massive size, the TeliaSonera network serves more than 90% of the customers of service operators which do not have a network of their own.
The largest service operators, Saunalahti and ACN, are both in the TeliaSonera camp. Elisa and Finnet have been left with just a few morsels.
To spur competition in the field, the Communications Regulatory Authority would like to take TeliaSonera under closer scrutiny, fearing that its powerful position in the market might allow it to treat its clients unfairly.
TeliaSonera is not yet suspected of any actual wrongdoing, but FICORA’s Johanna Juusela, who is responsible for economic supervision of the market, says that the measures would be aimed at preventing unfair practices.
However, on Friday the European Commission told the Communications Regulatory Authority that it feels that competition works sufficiently well in Finland.
The decision was a preliminary one, and formal confirmation is expected early next week. However, it is not likely to change.
The case is seen as something of a precedent in the EU. For instance, Swedish officials are considering similar action concerning TeliaSonera.
Riitta Tiuraniemi, head of network operations at Finnet, believes that the EU wants to promote the cause of large operators to make them more globally competitive.
"From some perspectives it is a sound goal, but from the point of view of small national operators it is bad."