The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has revised a sanctions decision following the ruling of 31 December 2007 by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven (CBb)). In so doing, the competition authority dropped the fine of almost €10 million previously imposed on mobile telecommunications operator Orange.
The fine was imposed at the time, as the NMa deemed Orange’s collusion with other mobile telecommunications operators in lowering dealer rebates to have been sufficiently proven. Operators offer dealer rebates to retailers for the sale of mobile services, including subscriptions. The CBb, however, judged that the NMa had failed sufficiently to establish Orange’s participation in this collusive practices.
The CBb referred the case with respect to the alleged coordinated practice between the other three mobile operators (KPN, Vodafone and T-Mobile) to the ECJ. Its preliminary questions to the ECJ relate to the concept of coordinated behaviour, in particular to the causal link between an exchange of information and market behaviour and to whether the presumptions developed by the ECJ in earlier concerted practice-case law apply in case of one single meeting that allegedly led to a concerted practice.
Source: Press Release NMa, 14-02-2008at www.nmanet.nl.