EU probes five telecoms giants over possible collusion

Mar 14, 2012
A man talks on a smartphone as he sits in a car in France, in January 2012. EU anti-trust chiefs said Wednesday they have asked five European telecoms giants to answer concerns over possible industry collusion.

EU anti-trust chiefs said Wednesday they have asked five European telecoms giants to answer concerns over possible industry collusion.

A European Commission spokesman told AFP it had sought answers on "the manner in which standardisation for future services in the mobile communications area is taking place."

This followed what the said was periodic meetings since 2010 between bosses of , France Telecom, Telefonica, Vodafone and Telecom Italia.

Brussels said the mobile industry association, the , had also been contacted.

No formal investigation has been launched at this stage, stressed Antoine Colombani, spokesman for European Union Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia.

"These fact-finding steps do not mean that we have competition concerns at this stage, nor do they prejudge the follow-up," he said in a subsequent statement.

Nevertheless, such requests do usually signal the preliminary stages of more detailed probes.

One source close to the case said questions focused notably on advertising platforms conceived for smartphones, or payment services via mobile phones.

The Commission is responsible for ensuring transparency across markets.

According to the FT, the so-called "E5" meetings addressed topics that included challenges posed by US groups such as and Apple and harmonisation of technology platforms.

Deutsche Telekom said in a statement after the EU confirmed it was looking into the meetings that the talks going back to 2010 focused on ideas to boost "growth and innovation" in Europe's digital sector, and so "contribute to growth in the EU."

The company said that the relevant authorities are routinely informed of such activities, and said the EU needed to send "a clear signal" that it would help indigenous European Internet companies compete with the likes of Google, Apple and .

Telecom Italia chief Franco Bernabe also insisted that "maximum transparency" had "always" been shown to EU anti-trust authorities.

and Telefonica refused to comment, while Vodafone simply acknowledged receipt of the Commission's questionnaire.

Explore further: Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU probes online payment market

Sep 26, 2011

European regulators launched on Monday an antritrust investigation into the Internet payments market, the system used by consumers to buy products online.

Brussels prods Europe to invest in broadband

Oct 03, 2011

The EU executive Monday urged Europe's largest telecoms operators to invest in high-speed broadband as it launched a review into the price of access to smaller alternative operators.

EU probes US, Japan hard disk takeover plans

May 30, 2011

European anti-trust regulators on Monday launched in-depth probes into proposed US takeovers of South Korean and Japanese businesses manufacturing computer hard disk drives (HDD).

Recommended for you

Verizon launches rewards program with tracking

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon Wireless is launching a nationwide loyalty program this week for its 100-million-plus subscribers. There's a twist, though: To earn points for every dollar spent, subscribers must consent to have their movements tracked ...

Verizon boosts FiOS uploads to match downloads

Jul 21, 2014

Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, vastly shortening the time it takes for subscribers to send videos and back up their files online.

The goTenna device pitch is No Service, No Problem

Jul 18, 2014

In the new age of Internet-based crowdfunding with special price offers, where startup teams try to push their product closer and closer to the gate of entry, goTenna's campaign offers a most attractive pitch. ...

Maths can make the internet 5-10 times faster

Jul 17, 2014

Mathematical equations can make Internet communication via computer, mobile phone or satellite many times faster and more secure than today. Results with software developed by researchers from Aalborg University ...

User comments : 0