Regulator says Bezeq in Israel abused telecoms market leadership

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s anti-competition regulator charged Bezeq Israel Telecom with abusing its position as the dominant player in the country’s telecoms sector, saying its monopoly over infrastructure may harm the supply of telecoms services.

The Antitrust Authority said it intends to impose a fine of 30 million shekels ($8.7 million) on the company and around 700,000 shekels on its chief executive.

Bezeq is one of two companies providing telecoms infrastructure nationwide, although Bezeq is the main player. A 2012 reform created a wholesale market and required Bezeq to lease its lines to smaller competitors.

The authority said the suspected abuse by Bezeq involved blocking and obstructing competitors who wished to deploy a line-based communications network over the Bezeq infrastructure.

“This conduct could impede the development of competition in the supply of communications services such as internet,

television and line-based telephony,” the authority said.

Bezeq and its CEO were granted a hearing for the authority’s commissioner on May 6.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)

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