European Union regulators had made a mistaken when calculating an EU antitrust fine handed down to Deutsche Telekom four years ago, according to Europe’s second-highest court. On December 13, the court ruled to reduce the penalty by about a third to €19m.
While Deutsche Telekom welcomed the decision, it said it was not convinced by all aspects of the judgment and would consider appealing to the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, Europe’s largest telecoms provider and its Slovak Telekom unit were sanctioned by the European Commission in 2014 for squeezing out competitors by charging unfair wholesale prices in Slovakia.
The EU competition enforcer said the anti-competitive practice to shut out competitors from the Slovak market for broadband services lasted more than five years.
The two companies were given a joint fine of €38.84m, while Deutsche Telekom was also hit with an additional penalty of €31m.
On December 13, the Luxembourg-based General Court said a parent company’s liability can exceed that of the subsidiary if there are factors which reflect the former’s conduct for which it is held liable.
However, in this case, what was at fault was the basis used by the Commission for assessing the additional fine.
“Deutsche Telekom’s turnover is not capable of reflecting its individual conduct in the infringement at issue and … it therefore could not serve as a basis for the calculation of an additional fine imposed on the latter,” judges said.
They also cut the joint fine from 38.84 million euros to 38.06 million euros.
According to Reuters, Deutsche Telekom said it viewed as problematic the court’s finding that rulings in national competition cases can be treated as the basis for determining an anti-trust violation under European law.
Further, Deutsche Telekom said in a statement, that the court had failed to provide clarity regarding procedural errors on the part of the European Commission’s economic analysis and calculation methods in the case.