The European Commission (EC) accepted changes proposed by Deutsche Telekom and PPF Group to a network-sharing agreement sealed between their respective subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, ending a six-year investigation.
In a statement, EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager (pictured) noted the commitments offered by the companies had now been made legally binding under antitrust rules.
She added the pledges “will keep the benefits of network sharing whilst removing technical and financial disincentives to unilateral deployments and limiting information exchange”.
The affair began in October 2016 when the EC commenced an investigation over concerns a network-sharing deal between T-Mobile CZ, and PPF’s O2 Czech unit and telecoms infrastructure arm CETIN could reduce infrastructure innovation and competition. The EC then sent a statement of objections to the companies in August 2019.
To alleviate EC concerns, the companies offered to modernise the mobile network through deploying multi-standard RAN equipment in certain radio frequency layers, alongside ensuring provided investments or services have cost-based pricing.
In late 2021, the EC sought feedback regarding these concessions. Based on the results of a month-long consultation, the parties offered further commitments regarding the geographic scope of the network-sharing agreements. These final commitments will now remain in force until 28 October 2033.