Milan

Vodafone sues Telecom Italia for abusing dominant position

Asks over one billion euros in damages on fixed-line practices

Vodafone sues Telecom Italia for abusing dominant position

Milan, August 5 - Vodafone has filed a lawsuit against Telecom Italia asking more than one billion euros in damages for abusing a dominant position on the fixed-line telephone network in Italy. Vodafone maintains that from 2008 to 2013, Telecom ''slowed the development of market competition on the fixed-line network'' through ''a series of abusive conducts'' that resulted in ''delay in wideband'' internet development in Italy, with damages also for ''consumers who have not been able to benefit from either price competition or advanced internet services''. Vodafone claimed Telecom pursued ''an articulated strategy...to block the expansion of Vodafone and competitors, systematically blocking Vodafone's access to the network infrastructure, hindering its ability to compete in fixed telephony and internet access; making Vodafone pay excessive and discriminatory prices for wholesale network access services'' and ''illicit exploitation of information it its own possession'' to recover clients that had passed to Vodafone through ''targeted and selective offers''. The lawsuit comes after the Italian antitrust authority AGCM in May fined the ex-monopoly 103 million euros for abusing its dominant position on the fixed-line telephone network. Telecom has appealed the antitrust ruling, and is awaiting a decision in a regional administrative court. Telecom rebuffed Vodafone's accusations, saying the company is confident it will ''succeed in demonstrating the absolute correctness of its own behaviour''. ''Vodafone is not new to competition initiatives by litigation,'' a Telecom spokesperson said. ''A similar pretextual initiative launched in recent years by Vodafone with a bombastic damages request (over 800 million euros) concluded in a stalemate with no outlay for the company,'' the Telecom spokesman added. The civil lawsuit was filed in the Court of Milan.

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