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EU probes Polish, Slovak telecom incumbents

  The European Commission said on Monday it had launched two separate investigations against the incumbent Polish and Slovak telecom operators on suspicions of abusive behaviour in their broadband Internet markets.

The Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, cited suspicions that Telekomunikacja Polska and Slovak Telekom hindered competition on broadband Internet access and other communications in their home markets.

The launch of the probe follows raids carried out by the European Union regulator on Telekomunikacja Polska in September 2008 and Slovak Telecom this January.

If found to have breach EU competition rules, TPSA, which is controlled by France Telecom and Slovak Telekom -- a unit Deutsche Telekom -- could face fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover.

TPSA rival Netia and Poland’s third largest mobile operator PTC had raised concerns over practices between TPSA and its mobile arm, which offers broadband Internet over TPSA lines, as do Netia and PTC.

The Commission said the opening of proceedings did not in itself imply the Commission had proof of infringements. (Reuters)