Maverick Advocaten in media on market power in the telecom sector

Martijn van de Hel has been asked by FD to react on the nullification by the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (‘CBb’) of the ACM decision about access to KPN's and VodafoneZiggo's networks for other telecommunication operators. FD quotes Martijn:

"Regulating the fixed network market was the point of ACM’s interference in telecom markets. Competition lawyer (advocaat) Martijn van de Hel from Maverick assumes that a change in the law is the only way to restore the regulation of the Dutch telecom market. ‘The ball is now in the legislator’s court if they want to re-open access to the cable.’ He adds that ACM opted for a difficult approach in regulating the fixed network market. ‘It’s difficult to establish collective dominance. It takes guts to try anyway.’"

One day ahead of the decision Martijn had already been interviewed by FD about the possible outcome of the procedure. FD wrote:

If VodafoneZiggo will be proved right, KPN will be rid of the ACM as well’, says competition lawyer Martijn van de Hel. ‘If there is no collective market power, no individual market power will be established for sure. This would imply the end of the regulation of the Dutch telecommunication market.” (…)

“No one can predict with certainty how the CBb will rule next week. But everyone believes to have a good chance of success. ‘The European legal framework provides for this possibility’, says Martijn de Jonge from T-Mobile. ‘The ACM’s ruling does make sense. KPN and Ziggo simply went too far.’

Competition lawyer Martijn van de Hel disagrees. The merger between Vodafone and Ziggo has been approved a couple of years ago, he says. ‘This means that back then, no distortions of competition have been identified. Now, the ACM holds that there is a duopoly. It is difficult to prove that two parties have collective market power.’

‘The court’s ruling might not be so black-and-white though. The CBb could ask preliminary questions to the European Court of Justice or state that ACM’s decision is not properly motivated, yet retrievable. There is one thing all parties agree on: the court’s ruling will be a landmark case for the European Union. The entire European telecommunication sector wants to know whether ACM’s decision will stand ground.”

The articles can be found here and here (in Dutch).

Martijn has also been interviewed by Tweakers on the nullification of ACM’s decision. The article can be found here (in Dutch).

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Martijn van de Hel

T +31 20 238 20 02
M +31 6 21 210 853