The announcements by the Competition Commission and the study by Finnish company Rewheel regarding the high charges and “closed oligopoly” conditions in the Greek telecommunications market have generated major reactions both in the market and on a political level.
However, the furor created may well be to the consumers’ benefit, as today the Hellenic Telecommunications and Posts Commission (EETT) is expected to approve the wholesale rates for broadband connections and force companies to introduce cuts, with OTE being the most greatly affected. The wholesale rate reduction will range from 10% to 20% and will largely be passed on to the end consumers.
Vodafone and Wind vehemently denied Rewheel’s claims about coordinated activity by the two local networks, while EETT sought to deconstruct the claims of the Competition Commission, which asked to obtain the telecoms competition monitoring data from EETT.
Even Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had to intervene, holding meetings with the heads of the two watchdogs and that of the Regulatory Authority for Energy. In a short statement, the Prime Minister’s Office insisted on the “integrity and independence” of the authorities monitoring competition in Greece.
Government officials made no secret of their discontent with the issue, as the study was published just a few months after the PM’s initiative for the reduction of overcharging in the cellphone market. There was also concern about the study’s claim that charges in the market remained particularly high even after Mitsotakis’ intervention.
Furthermore, the claims that competition isn’t working in the Greek telecom industry came just after the undeniably successful management of the pandemic lockdown by the local telecom networks. They also followed the internationally praised steps toward Greece’s digital transformation.
The next round of talks on the issue will be in Parliament, where the ministers of development, Adonis Georgiadis, and digital governance, Kyriakos Pierrakakis, will answer parliamentary questions at end-May. Indications show the government will then formally express its opinion that the status of competition monitoring competence will remain as is.