Vodafone Albania's takeover of fixed line company can go ahead

Vodafone Albania's takeover of fixed line company can go ahead

Albania’s antitrust watchdog the Competition Authority has approved – subject to a few conditions – Vodafone Albania’s acquisition of Albanian Broadband Company (ABCom).

Both operators are leaders in their fields. ABcom first launched in 1998 and is the country’s leading cable broadband provider. With estimated subscriber numbers of just under 1.8 million, Vodafone Albania is the front runner in the mobile market.

In theory the acquisition of ABCom, agreed late last year, will allow Vodafone Albania to become a full-service company that offers fixed and mobile communications along with TV services.

However, although the regulator decided that the takeover would not strengthen Vodafone’s dominant position in the mobile market or make it overwhelmingly dominant in fixed, it imposed a number of conditions on the tie-up.

Vodafone is not permitted to abuse its dominant position through the direct or indirect setting of unfair prices. It cannot offer different terms for the same offers. Nor is it permitted to establish conditions for contracts in which the other party must take on additional obligations not related to the subject of the contract.

For now, Vodafone and ABCom must maintain separate accounts for fixed and mobile services to ensure that the source of revenue can be identified.

The merged entity’s activities will be monitored for a twelve-month period, during which the CAA will insist that it is notified in advance of any plans to change service packages or introduce new tariffs. 

The CAA also recommended that sector watchdog the Electronic and Postal Communications Authority approve in advance any new package that combines fixed and mobile services in the same bundle. Providers should also be required to list the respective prices of the component services featured in the package, the CAA said.

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