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Regulator allowed to proceed on show-cause notice against PTCL.

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has allowed the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) on Monday to proceed with the inquiry against Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL) over a show-cause notice issued for prima facie abuse of dominant position.

The notice was issued to PTCL in 2012, as a result of the inquiry on a complaint filed by Micronet Broadband Ltd, LinkDotNet Telecom Ltd, and Nexlinx Ltd.

The CCP's inquiry determined that PTCL, being a dominant player in the upstream market for access to copper infrastructure, was restricting competition through the practice of margin squeeze, which forced five out of 11 of the PTCL's competitors out of the market and discouraged the entry of new players.

This anti-competitive practice prima facie constitutes abuse of dominant position and violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act.

On the other hand, after the inquiry was initiated by the CCP and the show-cause notice was issued,

PTCL filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court challenging CCP's jurisdiction in this matter and the proceedings before the Commission were suspended on 28 June 2012.

While, PTCL was successful in delaying the proceedings before the CCP through the stay order, however, with persistent follow up by the CCP, IHC vide its order dated November 22, 2017, allowed the CCP to proceed in the matter, but not to pass any final order.

The IHC in January recognised the jurisdiction of CCP over the matter and after hearing the parties, the commission's bench passed the order, addressing the questions of CCP's jurisdiction in the matter and the maintainability of the show-cause notice.

The Commission had passed an order assuming its jurisdiction in the matter of show-cause notice issued to PTCL for prima facie abusing its dominant position in violation of Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2010.

It was noted that the CCP had an exclusive mandate of regulating anti-competitive conduct and not only provided for prohibitions of anti-competitive conducts under Chapter II of the Act, but also provided for remedies against such conduct.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Nov 20, 2018
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