The European Commission has fined Slovak Telekom and its parent company Deutsche Telekom a total €38,838,000 for what it terms “abusive conduct in the Slovak broadband market”.

In a statement, the Commission says that the two companies “pursued during more than five years an abusive strategy to shut out competitors from the Slovak market for broadband services, in breach of EU antitrust rules. In particular, the Commission concluded that Slovak Telekom refused to supply unbundled access to its local loops to competitors, and imposed a margin squeeze on alternative operators”.

The Commission says that Deutsche Telekom is also liable for Slovak Telekom’s fine and has therefore received an additional one of €31,070,000, pointing out that it was punished fro a similar action in Germany in 2003.

Commenting on the punishment, Commission VP Joaquín Almunia, in charge of competition policy, said: “Slovak Telekom’s strategy has distorted competition in the broadband market in Slovakia during more than 5 years, to the detriment of competition and consumers. Slovak Telekom did not only refuse to give access to its unbundled local loops under fair conditions. It also pursued a margin squeeze policy which made it impossible for alternative operators to use its legacy telephone network infrastructure without incurring a loss. As the parent company with decisive influence on its subsidiary Deutsche Telekom has also been held responsible for the abusive conduct.”