ECONOMY

Regulator acts against OTE

The regulatory watchdog Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT) yesterday slapped an injunction on OTE after the telecoms operator launched discount rates for Sundays and international calls, effective May 12, saying the reduced rates violated competition rules. The injunction is intended to put a temporary stop to the discounted rates until a final decision is made on the extent to which telecommunication and competition legislation has been breached, the commission said. Lazaros Angelou, director of regulatory issues at OTE, told Kathimerini English Edition that the commission’s decision was unfair, as the company had waited the obligatory 40 days without any response from the regulator before it offered the reduced rates. «We had two hearings with the commission. Fifty-two days have passed since the offers were publicized at the end of March. And only now the commission makes a decision, after we have already spent on advertising,» he said. OTE plans to submit new data to the commission to back up its case and is also looking into the possibility of filing an appeal with the administrative appeals court, Angelou said. «We want to be fair and at the same time be able to offer a pricing policy just as in other European countries,» he stressed. The commission said the discounted rates for international calls violated competition rules, as they act as incentives for subscribers to continue making local and long-distance calls via OTE. It said reduced Sunday tariffs run counter to cost-based requirements for operators with significant power. Competition has taken its toll on OTE, which saw its market share fall 7 percent at the end of the first quarter. It estimates alternative carriers will have a 25 percent market share at the end of 2005.