Telkom to tango with tribunal - TechCentral

Telkom to tango with tribunal

Beginning next Monday, the Competition Tribunal will hear a wide-ranging case against Telkom for alleged anticompetitive behavior that could see it fined as much as R3,5bn if found guilty.

The case stems from an investigation conducted by the Competition Commission in 2004 that found Telkom abused its dominance, charging excessive prices, refusing to allow other operators access to its “last-mile” infrastructure and engaging in price discrimination. Telkom denies the allegations.

The tribunal’s hearings will run from 17 to 28 October and 1 and 9 December. In its founding papers, the commission has asked for a penalty amounting to 10% of Telkom’s 2003 turnover should it be found guilty of the allegations against it.

This is only one of the cases Telkom will have to face. Another, also prompted by complaints against it lodged by Internet service providers and value-added network service (Vans) providers, was lodged in 2009. The date for that case to be heard has not yet been set.

Complainants in the hearings that start next week include the Internet Service Providers’ Association, AT&T Global Network Services, Internet Solutions, MWeb, Omnilink and the SA Vans Association.

The 2004 case saw Telkom initially challenge the competition tribunal’s jurisdiction in the supreme court of appeals but its appeal was overturned in 2009.

The hearings were originally meant to take place in May this year but were postponed.

In January, the commission attempted to add charges pertaining to margin squeezing to the second case but the request was denied by the tribunal.  — Staff reporter, TechCentral

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