According to a report in the Prague Daily Monitor, the European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of the country’s telecoms regulator, the Czech Telecoms Office CTU, concerning its decision to order incumbent PTO Telefónica O2 CR (formerly Cesky Telecom) to open its ADSL lines to rivals. The former monopoly had complained about the watchdog’s ruling and taken the matter to the Czech courts. In the meantime it has been providing ADSL access to the likes of Czech On Line (Volný) on the basis of a wholesale offer which is deemed to provide the alternative operator little manoeuvrability in terms of changing its contract. Following the European Court ruling, the matter will now go to the Municipal Court in Prague which suspended the hearing pending the Court of Justice’s verdict.
A spokesman for the incumbent said the ruling did not materially change its position. ‘We think the legitimate decision by the CTU… was not correct,’ said Telefonica O2 spokesman Martin Zabka. It believes that the CTU should have conducted a review of the domestic ADSL market – as stipulated by two EU directives from 2002 – before deciding in the Czech On Line case. However, Michaela Hajna, a representative for Czech OnLine welcomed the ruling adding ‘We must say that after Czech On Line’s fight to achieve interconnection of telecommunication networks for ADSL, it was possible to cut the price of this Internet connection by up to 40%.’ She went on to say that if other alternative operators followed suit, it could result in a significant reduction in ADSL prices to end users in the Czech market.