Companies Telekom Srbija a.d. and Telenor Srbija have addressed the Commission for Protection of Competition with the request for each to be individually exempt from the ban on agreements on restricted and defined business cooperation in a certain business segment, the Commission announced. They add that, in line with the Law on Protection of Competition and in the interest of carrying out the procedures and protecting the rights of the parties, the Commission cannot present more information at the moment, or make projections as to the deadlines and the decisions.
– In procedures based on such requests, the Commission first determines its competence and then decides on the fulfillment of the requirements for the exemption of the filed agreement in line with the terms proscribed by the law (articles 11, 12, 13 and 14 of the Law on Protection of Competition) and will do so when it comes to this request too – the press release says.
They add that this does not amount to a merger between the companies.
Article 11 of the Law on Protection of Competition proscribes the conditions for being exempt from the ban on so-called restrictive agreements.
– Restrictive agreements may be exempt from the ban if they contribute to the improvement of production and sales, that is, the insisting of technical or economic progress, while securing a rightful part of the benefit for the consumers, provided that they do not impose on participants in the market such restriction as are unnecessary for achieving the goal of the agreement. In other words, they should not exclude the competition in the relevant market or an important part of it – the article says.
What are restrictive agreements?
Restrictive agreements are agreements between participants in the market which have as their aim or consequence a considerable restriction, violation or prevention of the competition’s activities. They can take the form of a contract, a stipulation within a contract, explicit or silent agreements, harmonized practices and decisions pertaining to the form of joint activities of participants in the market.
Such agreements, directly or indirectly, determine the sales or purchase prices or other terms of the trade, limit and control the production, the market, the technical development or the investments and implement unequal business conditions for the same jobs for different participants in the market, putting them at a disadvantage compared to their competition.
– Restrictive agreements are banned and not valid, except in cases of exemption from the ban in line with this law – the Law says.
Let us remind that the media house N1 has announced that it has had insight into the plan which says that Telekom Srbija and Telenor are to join forces. As N1 says, the aim is to reduce the share of SBB in the market to below 30%. N1 is part of United Group, within which SBB operates.
When asked by eKapija whether it plans to cooperate with Telenor and what that cooperation will entail, Telekom Srbija answered with an official statement, neither denying nor confirming the allegations of the potential joining. They underline their plans to become leaders in the market.
In response to the same question, Telenor says for eKapija that they currently have no concrete products or services to announce or any additional comments. They add that they will continue operating in line with the laws of Serbia and that they are always looking for opportunities to further expand the offer.
Telenor: Our ambition is to enter the field of internet and TV content
Telenor denies that it is merging with Telekom Srbija and acquiring ownership over Telekom’s infrastructure and adds that their ambition is to enter the field of internet and TV content.
– The ambition of Telenor is to enter the field of internet and TV content. In developing and realizing that ambition, we act, as always, as an independent and responsible company in the market, margining with nobody – the company says in its press release.
They add that, as for broadband internet and TV content, the citizens of Serbia now have a very limited choice of companies and offers.
– We want to introduce a new and different offer and not remove any existing offer from the market. The appearance of a third competitor in this field leads to a liberalization of the market, a healthier competition, new investments and a benefit for all: the users, the TC market and the whole society – Telenor claims.
The company points out that it has good infrastructure in Serbia, with over 2,200 base stations and 6,100 kilometers of optical-fiber cables.
– However, when additional capacities are needed in order to provide the optimal service to the users, we commercially rent infrastructure from various partners, including Telekom and SBB. The renting of infrastructure is a usual and fully legal business practice for all operators – Telenor says in its press release.
The company repeats that it currently has no product of service to announce, but that, in development and preparation of a potential offer in the future, it openly talks to all potential media content providers and other partners.
– We want to emphasize that our ambition, as a European company and one of the leading operators in Serbia, in no way jeopardizes the freedom of media in the country – the press release says.
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