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EU rules against Deutsche Telekom over price fixing case

An EU court ruled against Deutsche Telekom, which was charged with overturning a price-fixing fine imposed by the European Commission in 2003.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance said Deutsche Telekom abused its dominant position on the German telecommunications market by charging unfair prices for the provision of local access to its fixed telecommunications network for more than five years.

This practice meant alternative operators could not compete effectively with Deutsche Telekom and German consumers were deprived of the benefits of choice and price competition for more than five years, according to the court ruling.

The ruling upheld a decision made by the European Commission, the EU's antitrust watchdog, in May 21, 2003, in which Deutsche Telekom was fined €12.6 million ($19.8 million).

The Commission found that from the beginning of 1998 to the end of 2001, and from 2002 to the adoption of its decision, Deutsche Telekom charged new entrants higher fees for wholesale access to the local loop than what Deutsche Telekom's subscribers paid for fixed line subscriptions.

It “discouraged new companies from entering the market and reduced the choice of suppliers of telecoms services as well as price competition for consumers,” the Commission said a decision at the time. (Xinhua)