TPSA fined $182 million by European Union

Reuters

European Union antitrust regulators hit TPSA (Warsaw, Poland), the country’s largest telecom operator, with a $182 million fine on Wednesday for thwarting rivals' access to its network.

The firm, which is controlled by France Telecom, prevented or delayed competitors from entering the Polish broadband market from August 2005 to October 2009, the European Commission said in a statement.

"This case shows our determination to ensure that dominant telecom operators do not systematically hinder competitors who can make a real difference in the market to the benefit of consumers and businesses," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said.

The Commission said TPSA proposed unreasonable conditions to rivals, delayed negotiations, rejected orders in an unjustifiable manner and refused to provide reliable and accurate information.

TPSA shares extended losses after the news and were down 2% to $6.1 by 1013 GMT, the biggest decliner among Polish blue chips.

A TPSA spokesman said the company would issue a statement shortly. The fine represented 3.24% of TPSA's 2010 turnover of $5.6 billion.

TPSA competes in mobile telephony with Deutsche Telekom's, Polish arm PTC and Polkomtel -- which has been put up for sale by joint owners Vodafone and Polish investors, and in the fixed-line market with local rival Netia.

(Additional reporting by Adrian Krajewski in Warsaw; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Jon Loades-Carter)

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