Turkish Competition Authority has announced on its web page today that the Board has decided to initiate an investigation against the economic entity involving Türk Telekomünikasyon A.Ş. ve TTNET A.Ş. (“TT”) on abuse of dominant position claims (the decision dated 19.01.2017 and numbered 17-03/25-M).
As is known, the relevant economic entity (undertaking) is the incumbent provider of PSTN (TT) and internet services (TTNET) in Turkey. This entity is also an important GSM services provider (Avea). TT, the holding company, has integrated its products and services into a singled brand “Türk Telekom” last year.
The announcement on the official web page states that the investigation is opened after a preliminary inquiry of the Board, since the Board considers that the findings at hand are sufficient to initiate an investigation in order to clarify as to whether or not TT has abused its dominant position by way of its bundling practices regarding its services of fixed broadband internet and paid TV (IPTV, “Tivibu”).
It is important to note that TT and its bundling activities have been under the Board’s spotlight for the last years. The Board has even fined TT for margin/price squeeze abuses in the past. TT’s bundling activities on internet and IPTV services have been also strictly scrutinized by the Board. For instance, the Board determined that some bundling activities may close the market to competition and ordered TT to stop renewing these for its clients in the decision dated 19.12.2013 and numbered 13-71/992-423. Upon this decision, TT has filed a negative clearance application for its certain new bundles regarding IPTV, voice, and internet services to get the green light of the Board and therefore avoid risks relating to abuse of dominant position, and the Board has given its green light on such bundles on condition that these are realized in line with the submitted projections, and TT obtains reasonable profit from these. It is not known to us as to whether or not the recent investigation has any relation with these past decisions.
It is important to note that opening of an investigation does not mean there have been any violation regarding the competition rules, but it puts forward that the Board is to deal with the case as a matter of priority.
Att. Ismail Unal Dogan