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Eircom warned over 'discriminatory' conduct

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Eircom has got a slap on the wrists from ComReg after the regulator found that the operator was favouring its own retail business over other operators.

The warning came after a ComReg investigation found that the incumbent operator was favouring its retail division when it came to customers moving premises but retaining their telephone number.

A complaint was made to the regulator in January after a customer put in a request to move premises through both Eircom and through another authorised operator. ComReg's investigation looked at whether Eircom provided its retail arm with superior access to information, a more efficient process, or shorter ordering processing times than it provided to Other Authorised Operators (OAOs) when it came to processing the premises moves.

"ComReg found evidence that in respect of orders for a premises move, Eircom do not provide to OAOs conditions similar to those provided to its retail arm in similar circumstances or interconnection facilities and information under the same conditions and of the same quality as is provided to its retail arm in similar circumstances," ComReg said in a statement.

This breaches Eircom's non-discrimination obligation under telecoms regulations, which compels the incumbent to provide services to other operators in the market in the same manner as it would to its own divisions.

"Such behaviour could give Eircom a competitive advantage over OAOs as it may allow Eircom to process sales orders and queries more quickly than could be done by OAOs and thus facilitate Eircom gaining new customers and retaining existing customers," ComReg said.

Speaking on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Eircom told ENN the telecoms operator took any issue of non compliance seriously and would be investigating thoroughly before making its response to ComReg. Eircom will now have a month to respond to ComReg's statement.

To remedy the non-compliance, the telecoms operator will have to satisfy ComReg that any services provided to both OAOs and Eircom retail are "equivalent and non-discriminatory". Failure to do so could lead to massive fines for the incumbent operator.

© 2007 ENN

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