The European Commission has fined Spain’s Telefonica almost 252 million euros. European Union Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said between 2001 and 2006 the telecoms operator manipulated internet access prices to keep rivals out of the market:” Telefonica committed a very serious abuse of its dominant position on the Spanish broadband market, by structuring its wholesale and retail prices in such a way that the margin between them did not allow competitors to compete in the market without making losses.”
It is the EU’s second highest fine ever – second only to the almost five hundred million euros imposed on Microsoft. The Commission said it wanted to send a message to particularly the energy market not to do anything similar. Telefonica’s defence was that it followed Spanish telecoms regulator’s guidelines. It plans to appeal against what it called an “unjustified and disproportionate” decision.