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CCP decides to proceed against PTCL

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ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): While exercising its jurisdiction on Monday Competition Commission of Pakistan has decided to proceed against country’s major telecom sector player PTCL over alleged anti-competitive conduct.

Filing complaint before the CCP in 2012, Micronet Broadband Limited, LinkDotNet Telecom Limited, and Nexlinx Limited alleged that PTCL had abused its dominant position in the market for the provision of DSL services through the practices of predatory pricing and refusal to deal.

Meanwhile, after the initiation of enquiry the complainants withdrew the complaint, however, the CCP continued with the conclusion of the enquiry observing that it has been entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the interest of general public vis-à-vis anti-competitive conduct.

The enquiry determined that  PTCL being a dominant player in the upstream market for access to copper infrastructure was restricting competition through the practice of margin squeeze, which forced five out of 11 of PTCL’s competitors out of market and discouraged the entry of new players.

After the enquiry, the CCP served show cause notice to PTCL on the grounds that an anti-competitive practice prima facie constitutes the abuse of dominant position and violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act.

Challenging the CCP Show Cause notice before the Islamabad High Court in 2012, the PTCL contended that notice is not maintainable saying the CCP has not jurisdiction in the matter. Stay order was granted to PTCL, however, during November last year the Court allowed the CCP to proceed in the matter with directives to refrain from passing any final order.

The CCP claimed, “Later on the Honorable Islamabad High Court vide its Order 22 January 2018 mandated the CCP to decide the issue of maintainability in terms of the jurisdictional objections raised by the PTCL. In fact the Honorable Islamabad High Court recognized the jurisdiction of CCP subject to determination of maintainability by CCP through an Order”.

CCP said in a press release issued here that it will now proceed in the matter of show cause notice issued to PTCL for prima facie abuse of dominant position, adding it is the first time the Honorable High Court allowed the Commission to decide maintainability of the proceedings pending before CCP.

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