Vodafone has confirmed Spanish press reports that the group is seeking €670 million in damages – almost US$1 billion – from rival Spanish operator Telefonica, reports Reuters. A Vodafone spokesman confirmed a report in Spanish daily El Pais that the claim relates to a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that found Telefonica gulity of violating competition rules in Spain between October 1995 and December 1999 – a situation that allegedly negatively affected Airtel, the Spanish mobile firm acquired by Vodafone in 2000.
According to the El Pais report, Vodafone’s complaint alleges that Telefonica coerced mobile phone retailers into signing exclusivity contracts in the 1990s, meaning Airtel was unable to acquire new customers via the channel. Vodafone reportedly argues that such behaviour prevented the company from earning an additional €529 million over the period and forced it to pay over €141 million in costs during Airtel’s initial years of service, a total claim of €670 million. The report adds that analysts are predicting that Telefonica may seek to settle out of court.