The Competition Council of Romania is investigating allegations that Telekom Romania exploited its dominance in the market by hiking fees for technical approvals.
Obtaining construction permits in Romania requires approvals from administrators or providers of urban utilities. These are known as emplacement approvals, and are listed in town planning certificates.
Emplacement approvals are necessary to verify that the proposed construction does not create difficulties in operating municipal networks. Operators provide these approvals for a fee.
In a statement, Romania’s Competition Authority said that it had heard claims that in 2019, Telekom Romania increased its tariffs for construction approvals far beyond the previous year “without having an economic justification.”
As reported by TeleGeography, the council noted that while it has conducted surprise inspections at Telekom Romania’s offices and seized certain documents, it has not confirmed any illegal activity – although it noted that its investigation is still at an early stage.
That said, if Telekom Romania is found to have violated competition rules, it could be fined as much as 10% of its turnover. This could derail Greek firm OTE’s plan, announced in November 2020, to sell its 54% stake in the operator to Orange Group for EUR268 million (US$318.9 million).