Comments made by the lawyer Mikhail Ilyin to an article titled “FAS stood up for SZT (Severo-Zapadny Telecom)”. Internet-Project “Telecomblog”

22 February 2011

The Kaliningrad Department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service calls for holding Ekran, the local Internet provider, administratively liable for unfair competition regarding Severo-Zapadny Telecom.

In April, 2010 Ekran has forwarded a letter to Kaliningrad municipal administration with an offer to organize connection of Kaliningrad general education institutions to Ekran’s network, to provide them Internet services. In this letter the company pointed out that it provides access to Internet to individuals and entities based in Kaliningrad and Kaliningrad Oblast, and is able to provide such services to municipal educational institutions of the city.

The letter forwarded to municipal administration contained the following statement: “… our cost of service is lower than cost of service for schools currently offered by Severo-Zapad-Telekom” (Severo-Zapadny-Telekom). Please find enclosed our price list. The service quality is significantly higher as data are transmitted via a separate dedicated pair wire, instead of telephone wire. Connection is free, no VAT will be added to the price”.

Naturally, the offer has incurred the displeasure of SZT which filed a complaint to regional department of the FAS. We didn’t manage to obtain comments from SZT yesterday, however, as Telekomblog learned from own sources, the company complained about “incorrect comparison of services and dissemination of false information”.

The Kaliningrad Department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service stood up for SZT. “Experts of the Kaliningrad Department of the Federal Antimonopoly Service arrived at the conclusion that actions taken by the company management encouraged municipal administration of Kaliningrad to regard Ekran LLC as a player in the Internet access market providing these services for better prices and with better quality than Severo-Zapadny-Telekom OJSC”. According to the report, published on the FAS website, the antimonopoly service believes that such circumstance might influence further relations between municipal administration as the client, municipal educational institutions and SZT OJSC, to result in Kaliningrad administration’s refusal to cooperate with Severo-Zapadny-Telekom and to cause damage to SZT OJSC”.

Finally, a penalty was nevertheless imposed on Ekran LLC, but for an offence other than incorrect comparison of services or dissemination of false information.

The fact is, during investigation, the antimonopoly service discovered that another company (Laiser LLC) is already providing the services offered by Ekran to municipal administration. Therefore, Ekran misled its potential clients regarding the producer of services, said representatives of UFAS.

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