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Abuce of dominance in telecommunication markets - the Norwegian Telenor caseJohansen, Tormod S. – Larsen, Sven Heidar – Reitan, Magnus Friis
Kilpailuoikeudellinen vuosikirja 2021 s. 73–97
In June 2018, the Norwegian Competition Authority (“NCA”) fined Telenor, the incumbent telecom operator in Norway, EUR 84 million for abuse of its dominant position. This was the highest fine ever imposed for an infringement of the Norwegian Competition Act. The decision became final when the Norwegian Supreme Court declined to review Telenor’s appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal rendered in June 2021.
What makes a ruling from a Norwegian Court of Appeal interesting to a wider audience? The EU/EEA case law on abuse of dominance is evolving to encompass new forms of conduct while maintaining its fundamental core and aim. In that perspective, Telenor is a case in point: It involves an atypical abusive conduct but deals with a dominant firm that sought to prevent market entry.
The case also deals with issues that feature prominently in the current international debate about abuse of dominance: the level of effects required to conclude that actions are abusive; the role of “competition on the merits” and evidence of intent in the abuse assessment; and the “special responsibility” of the dominant firm.
This paper endeavours to give a succinct account of the findings of the Court of Appeal and to highlight the essential legal and economic aspects of the Telenor case viewed from an EU/EEA perspective. The facts of the case were detailed and complex, however, and can only be presented in a summary fashion here.