Vodafone Czech Republic suing O2 Czech Republic for CZK 385 million
Vodafone Czech Republic (“Vodafone”) has commenced legal action against O2 Czech Republic (“O2”) for abuse of its dominant position in the Czech fixed broadband market, which has harmed competition and innovation, stifled choice and undermined the wider Czech consumer interest.
Vodafone’s legal action claims that O2 violated the principles of free competition by forcing it to pay unjustifiably high costs for wholesale access to DSL broadband in order to compete in the retail fixed broadband market. O2 is the former state incumbent and continues to provide over 80% of all DSL broadband lines in the Czech Republic.
Vodafone claims that O2’s practices prevented it from offering services to Czech consumers and businesses at prices that could compete with O2’s, thereby restricting consumer choice and stymying the healthy development of the Czech Republic’s retail broadband market. The legal action also details how O2 damaged the interests of Vodafone by causing the company to lose existing and potential customers by restricting its ability to grow its fixed line business. Vodafone is seeking damages of CZK 385 million (€13.7 million) for the harm caused between 2011 and 2014, and highlights that the damage caused by O2’s actions continues to increase by more than CZK 100 million a year.
“Access to innovative digital services at competitive prices is essential for consumers, businesses and the health of the overall digital economy. Unfortunately, O2’s anti-competitive actions have harmed the Czech national interest by hindering the healthy development of the Czech broadband market” says Balesh Sharma, CEO of Vodafone Czech Republic, adding: “We hope that taking this legal action will help to rectify the harm caused by O2’s actions and alter their future behaviour so that Czech customers will benefit from more choice, more competition and more of the services they want to enhance their digital lives and livelihoods.”
Vodafone has filed its claim with the Municipal Court in Prague.