Court ruling frees Omnitel, Bite GSM from added regs

  • 2003-05-22

Omnitel and Bite GSM, Lithuania's leading mobile service providers, recently won a court victory in a fight to overturn a ruling by the Communications Regulatory Authority that declared the companies "operators with significant market power," a designation that brings added regulations.

The court ruled that the companies do not have to abide to the added regulations, which would require them to offer smaller companies access to their infrastructure at set prices.

The regulatory body intends to appeal the Vilnius Area Court's ruling.

The Communications Regulatory Authority in January declared Bite GSM to be an operator with significant power in the mobile communications market. Omnitel, the country's largest mobile operator, was declared to be a dominant operator in the mobile and interconnection markets.

Its decision followed a survey carried out in the first half of 2002 that showed Omnitel had a 51.7 percent share of the mobile-communication market and Bite GSM had a 34.4 percent share. Tele2, Lithuania's third mobile operator, accounted for a 13.9 percent share.

The Lithuanian Statistics Department has released data showing that the country's three mobile operators had 1.63 million users early in 2003.

Operators with a market share of over 25 percent are, under current regulations, deemed to have significant market power. Such operators must provide access and network interconnection to other providers at set prices, among other regulations.

Bite GSM is 100 percent owned by the Danish telecommunication company TDC and Omnitel is 55 percent owned by the Nordic telecommunication group TeliaSonera.