Sweden investigates LTE spectrum “cartel” – Mobile World Live

Sweden investigates LTE spectrum “cartel”

19 OCT 2009

The Swedish Competition Authority (Konkurrensverket) has launched an investigation into whether the LTE spectrum agreement forged by Sweden’s five main mobile operators is anti-competitive. The investigation relates to a deal struck between TeliaSonera, Telenor, Tele2, Swefour and 3 Sweden in November last year to share Sweden’s 900Mhz bandwidth in a so-called “frequency pact.” However, according to Swedish newspaper The Local, the move provoked a succession of critical questions from Brussels, leading the Swedish government to order an investigation by the Competition Authority. “Market division is a particularly serious type of infraction,” said the Competition Authority. “Within their agreement, the operators have refrained from competing over a valuable commodity.”

According to the report, the investigation covers not only how the frequency division was made, but also asks whether the five operators are guilty of illegal cartel building during the course of their collaboration. If found guilty, the operators could be issued with substantial fines. Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (Naringsdepartementet) is due to provide the EU commission with the results of the investigation by mid-October. As reported in a recent edition of Wireless Intelligence’s Snapshot, the Swedish operators have formed various network-sharing agreements in order to use the spectrum to roll-out LTE. 

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