The High Court of Cassation and Justice has decided against mobile operator Orange Romania in the case opened against Competition Council. Therefore, Orange is still forced to pay a fine for abusing its dominant position in the market in relation to Netmaster Communications, but the value of the fine has been reduced from RON 147.9 million to RON 110.9 million.
The mobile operator was fined by the Competition Council in February 2011 after Netmaster Communication formally complained that Orange Romania and Vodafone Romania did not allow access to their voice and data network at the price regulated by ANCOM, even if they were compelled by law to do so. The Competition Council fined Orange with RON 147.9 million and Vodafone with RON 120.3 million.
After challenging the fine at the Bucharest Court of Appeal (CAB) in 2013, Orange had the fine overruled, but the CC filed an appeal at the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The case was sent back to trial at CAB and this time, in 2017, the decision was in favour of the CC. After one last appeal by Orange the High Court had the final word, the only difference being the reduced value of the fine.
“Companies that have a dominant position in the market can take any measure necessary to protect their commercial interests, but they must take only non-discriminatory actions in relation to small companies, whether they are clients, suppliers or competition”, says Bogdan Chiritoiu, President of the Competition Council.
According to a study by ASE, in 20 years of activity, the Competition Council had generated over EUR 1 billion in savings for Romanian citizens, and a big part of those savings were generated by the telecommunication sector – EUR 575 million.