EC Confirms Inquiry Into Possible Telecom Collusion
The European Commission is questioning five of Europe’s largest telecommunications companies over concerns that a series of meetings held among them may have constituted collusion.
Targeted in the query are the so-called E5 — Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, and Vodafone — whose CEOs met occasionally, beginning in 2010, ostensibly to discuss major industry issues.
Topics of discussion reportedly ran the gamut of innocent topics — from mobile payment platforms to the creation of a common app platform. But evidently the EC is concerned that more nefarious things may have been discussed, and if that was the case, whether the meetings constituted collusion.
The European Commission confirmed the inquiry, but stressed that at this stage no formal investigation has been launched.
“The requests for information relate to the manner in which standardization for future services in the mobile-communications area is taking place,” a spokesman for EC Competition Chief Joaquin Almunia explained. “These fact-finding steps do not mean that we have competition concerns at this stage, nor do they prejudge the follow-up.”
So this may not necessarily lead to an official investigation. That said, such requests do often signal that a more detailed probe is in the offing.