Vodafone Qatar claim against Qtel rejected
Doha, May 31, 2011
Qatar's regulator has rejected a claim from Vodafone Qatar that former monopoly Qatar Telecom (Qtel) priced international calls at below costs in what could have amounted to anti-competitive behaviour.
In its complaint, Vodafone Qatar said about 70 percent of its revenue came from international calls and that Qtel's pricing caused it to lose customers and revenues, according to a statement from the Regulatory Authority of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, also known as ictQatar.
'Qtel has not engaged in anti-competitive behaviour with respect to its pricing for international calls,' ictQatar said in a statement on its website.
'ictQATAR therefore rejected the claim of Vodafone and considers the matter closed.'
Vodafone Qatar has built up a 27 percent share of Qatar's consumer mobile market since launching services in July 2009, according to its financial results for the year ending March 31, while 45 percent of Qatar's population use the firm's services.
These figures differ because mobile penetration in Qatar is more than 150 percent -- many people own subscriptions with both operators, so pricing is a key factor in deciding which one to use for making international calls.
If proven, providing calls at below cost for a prolonged period could constitute predatory pricing, the regulator said.
'ictQatar has made their determination following a regulatory investigation, which Vodafone Qatar respects,' a spokeswoman for Vodafone Qatar said in an emailed statement.
Qtel was not immediately available for comment. -Reuters