A probe by Albania’s Competition Authority, CAA, has come short of finding that Vodafone abused its dominant position in the local mobile communications market.
Besar Likmeta BIRN Tirana
“From the analysis of the behavior of the company it results that the strategy followed by this operator creates disturbances for competition in the market and negative effects for the competition on a long-term toward smaller companies,” CAA said in its ruling.
“The differentiation of prices for calls outside its network can be sued as a blocking mechanism from big operators toward smaller ones that risk going out of business,” it added.
However, the competition authority underlined that that Vodafone had ‘not abused its dominant position in the market,’ sparing the company of a fine equal to 10 per cent of its annual turnover.
Vodafone Albania was accused by two other mobile operators Plus and AMC, of hampering competition in the market by using its Vodafone Club plan to ensure customers remained as much as possible within its own network.
Apart from Vodafone, three other mobile phone companies operate in the Albanian telecommunications market: Albania Mobile Communications, AMC, Eagle Mobile and Plus Communications.
According to the Competition, in 2012, Vodafone’s market share was 52 per cent, and it had a turnover of 23 billion lek (163.8 million euro) with net profits of 5 billion lek (35.6 million euro) and a profit margin of 23 per cent.
AMC’s market share meanwhile dropped from 42 per cent in 2009 to 32 per cent in 2012.
Revenues for Vodafone and AMC between 2008 and 2012 were 192 billion lek (1.37 billion euro), almost half of Albania’s annual budget, and the two companies registered net profits of 73 billion lek (520 million euro) during that period, with a profit margin ranging from 21 to 60 per cent.