ACM fines KPN for putting competitors at a disadvantage in government tender
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) imposed a fine of almost EUR 30 million on Dutch telecom company KPN. KPN committed a violation in the government tender for fixed telephony services for several government agencies (called OT2010).
KPN is required to give itself and its competitors access to its network for fixed telephony under equal conditions. Any changes to these access conditions, such as tariff information, must be announced in a timely and complete manner. ACM established that, at a crucial moment in the tender process, KPN withheld tariff information, which it was required to share with its competitors. By failing to inform its competitors about a discount scheme that it had introduced, KPN put these competitors at a disadvantage in the tender process. KPN’s competitors were unable to incorporate these lower tariffs in their bids.
‘By committing this violation, KPN has seriously impeded competition’, Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, explains. ‘This is not the first time that KPN has committed a violation like such as this one. That is why we decided to impose a fine, but, at the time, we also put KPN under intensified supervision.’
Though the fine was imposed on December 21, 2011, KPN until today has been able to prevent the publication thereof through injunctions. The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb) has ruled that ACM is now allowed to publish the fining decision and, by extension, the fine itself.
On October 24, 2013, the District Court of Rotterdam confirmed the assessment of ACM that KPN had committed a violation. Publication of this ruling had been suspended by the court at the request of KPN.
KPN has filed an appeal with the CBb against the fining decision.