ECONOMY

OTE fined 1.5 bln euros

Telecoms operator OTE’s tardiness in opening up its facilities to alternative carriers has earned it a 1.5-million-euro fine from the National Telecommunications and Post Commission. «OTE to date has failed to live up to its obligations [as the dominant incumbent],» the telecoms watchdog said yesterday. The fine was levied on the operator because it did not provide cost-based tariffs for leased telephone lines supplied to alternative carriers. In the last five years, OTE has failed to come up with a comprehensive tariff system to justify connection charges, termination charges and per-kilometer lease prices, the commission said. It also accused the telecoms operator of not offering wholesale prices to its rivals. The commission said the absence of a cost-based, wholesale price list makes it difficult for alternative carriers to compete with OTE and also put a brake on their growth. Consumers suffer as well, as the new carriers are not able to offer competitive prices. OTE lost its monopoly of the domestic telecommunications market two years ago. Despite the entrance of more than 20 new telecoms operators, however, it continues to dominate the market. The new carriers are estimated to have captured some 2 percent of the fixed-line market up to the end of September. OTE reported a 14-percent jump in revenues from leased lines and transfer of data in the first nine months of the year. The European Commission last year opened infringement proceedings against Greece for its failure to offer new telecoms entrants shared access to the local loop. The Greek telecoms regulator subsequently published terms forming the basis of agreements between OTE and alternative carriers.