Telenor has not merged with Telekom Serbia, nor it has had a plan to suffocate free media in the country as N1 has reported, but it intends to enter the TV distribution market to offer the users a wider choice, the company has said on Thursday, threatening legal proceedings against the United Group.
Telekom Serbia – Telenor agreement was an exclusively business decision, firmly based on the laws and regulations were in line with fair competition, Telenor statement added.
„The United Group and SBB used their N1 and Nova S TV channels to launch a legally not allowed media campaign against Telekom to protect its dominant position they currently hold in that market in Serbia,“ Telenor charged.
„In the media content distribution market, SBB is the leader with 46.1 percent, fixed Internet with 32.5 percent and fixed telephony with 20 percent (source: RATEL, 2020). Such SBB dominant position cannot be destroyed or broken as N1 reported. The entry of a new player into that market will ensure a greater diversity of information and media content and enhanced media pluralism. Telenor needs cable infrastructure for users’ access, which in Serbia is over 80 percent owned by SBB and Telecom, to enter the media content market and distribute TV channels and fixed Internet,“ Telenor’s statement said.
It added the agreements on the use of infrastructure the company made with Telecom were under the law.
„The United Group published false information about Telenor on N1 and Nova S TVs to prevent Telenor from becoming an SBB competitor in the media content distribution market. This way of fighting against the competition is not allowed, which is why Telenor will initiate appropriate legal proceedings. The agreements on the use of infrastructure Telenor made with Telekom and earlier with SBB are fully under the law. Moreover, the mutual use of infrastructure is a legal obligation of all electronic communications operators and recommended by RATEL and the European Electronic Communications Regulator. By publishing untrue information about Telenor, N1 and NovaS are exerting undue pressure on the public and independent regulatory bodies – RATEL and the Commission for Protection of Competition,“ Telenor said.
Later on Thursday, Klara Zavadilova, PPF spokesperson also avoided a direct answer to N1’s question whether the group was aware that the Telekom’s plan aimed at destroying the UG’s TV channels and what was their stand on the issue.
„Our cooperation with Telekom has only one goal – the infrastructure lease. PPF won’t be a hostage to two competitors who fight in public for years and we are not going to be artificially involved in that conflict. We are exclusively focused on our commercial goals which have never been directed at limiting SBB or N1 access to the market,“ Zavadilova said.