Tele2 penalized twice in one week

  • 2004-12-09
  • From wire reports
VILNIUS - The Competition Council on Dec. 2 imposed a fine of 60,000 litas (17,400 euros) on Tele2 for misleading advertising, following a complaint from rival mobile-phone operator Omnitel.
Tele2 said it intended to appeal the competition watchdog's decision. Palmira Kvietkauskiene, a spokeswoman for the council, said Tele2 was also ordered to publish a correction in local newspapers.

It was the third complaint that the competition watchdog has examined in the past month, and the second time in a week that Tele2 was fined 60,000 litas.

"I think that we were punished too severely, and that's why we are going to appeal the decision," Petras Masiulis, CEO of Tele2, told the Baltic News Service.

Tele2 claimed in its advertisement, which ran in the local press in May, that its users were enjoying the lowest prices among mobile service users.

Omnitel argued in its complaint that Tele2's ad was misleading, as it failed to provide all relevant information to users.

Last week the council imposed fines both on Tele2 and Omnitel for improper advertising of their services.

Tele2 was fined 60,000 litas for misleading and prohibited comparative advertising, while Omnitel was fined 30,000 litas for prohibited comparative advertising.

Both operators have announced that they will consider appealing the council's decisions.

According to data from the Communications Regulatory Authority, Tele2 generated 150.8 million litas in revenues during the first nine months of this year. The company's annual revenues reached 161.3 million litas in 2003.

The total number of mobile-phone subscribers in the country reached 2.98 million at the end of September, according to RRT data.

Omnitel held a 41.1 percent market share in terms of user numbers. Tele2 was second with 32.5 percent and Bite GSM was third with 25.8 percent.