The Commission on Protection of Competition (CPC) has found that Bulgarian telecoms operator Vivacom (registered as Bulgarian Telecommunications Company [BTC]) has violated Article 36 of the Law on Protection of Competition (LPC) by offering tablets at significantly discounted prices to subscribers who sign up to its broadband services. Following an investigation requested by TV Club 2000, Multimedia BG, Cable Sat-West and Virginia RN, the CPC found that in the period January-July 2014 Vivacom offered post-paid users, who signed up to its Traffic Unlimited S, M, L or XL broadband plans for 12- or 24-month periods, to obtain certain tablets – Asus Fonepad 7, Asus Fonepad ME371MG, Lenovo A3000, Lenovo S5000, Lenovo Yoga 10.1 HD+ and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7 Lite – way below market value. According to the CPC, this practice is outlined as a ‘supply of a prohibited subsidy’ under the CPA, as it is likely to harm competition. As a result, the anti-trust watchdog has imposed a fine on Vivacom, amounting to BGN811,879 (USD472,709), or 0.1% of the company’s turnover in 2013.
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