Telekom – The Impregnable State Fortress
Last month, the Ljubljana District Court issued its ruling, completely dismissing T-2’s damages claims against Telekom Slovenije in the amount of 130 million euros. T-2 filed its lawsuit already six years ago against Telekom Slovenije over alleged anti-competitive actions, which, it claimed, prevented it from successfully entering the internet services market. The main hearing did not get underway until January of this year, but it finished in just an hour and a half, so the ruling was no surprise. At the hearing, the judge did not even ask the question of whether or not the claims of Telekom’s abuse of dominant market position were founded, but first verified that T-2 had submitted enough evidence to calculate the damages. Since the judge was of the opinion that a solid cubic meter of documents was insufficient, she completed the proceedings without even giving T-2 an opportunity to submit additional evidence for its claims. With such a conclusion to the case in which the parties submitted to the court a total of three thousand pages of written materials over the course of six years and over five thousand pieces of evidence, one has to ask the question, what poses the greatest obstacle to competition: Telekom, the Civil Procedures Act, or Slovenian courts themselves? Or is this a concerted action?
Is Telekom not guilty?
Telekom’s management continues to insist that it has always adhered to Slovenian legislation, and that it has not violated any competition rules. Yet the facts suggest otherwise. Telekom’s competitors have been fighting against its anti-competitive activities and abuse of dominant market position since 1996. In these fifteen years, at least a dozen proceedings have been initiated before the Slovenian Competition Protection Agency (previously the Competition Protection Office). The Agency has never been particularly keen on investigating Telekom’s alleged abuses, as the proceedings for establishing the existence of infringements have always been dragged out longer than stipulated by law, but it has nonetheless issued a few decisions.