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Italy's Antitrust Launches Probe on Telecom Companies

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By Manuela Mesco

 

MILAN--The Italian competition regulator Thursday launched a probe to check if Italian telecommunications companies Vodafone Italy--a branch of the Vodafone Group PLC (VOD.MI)--Wind and Telecom Italia (TIT.MI) have reached an agreement to block a new mobile telecommunication player, Bip Mobile, from entering the market.

The regulator said that the three companies--controlling around 90% of Italy's market share--had been notified of the launch of the probe after Bip mobile required action.

Bip mobile regrets that a number of distributors have decided not to sell services and products from the new operator, under pressure from other telecommunication players threatening to cancel their distribution contracts if the new player's services were also sold.

The enquiry is due to end in September 2013.

Telecom Italia and Wind were not immediately reachable for comments. Bip Mobile was also unreachable. Vodafone said that it rules out theories of an agreement with other players. "The entrance of a new player can only be considered physiological," a statement said.

Vodafone Italy also added that it "will consider actions against third parties whose statements result detrimental for its reputation".

 

Write to Manuela Mesco at manuela.mesco@dowjones.com

 

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 13, 2012 13:21 ET (17:21 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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