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European Ombudsman To Probe EC Over Roaming Charges Investigation

by Ulrika Lomas, for LawAndTax-News.com, Brussels

27 October 2006


The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, announced on Monday that he has opened an inquiry into a complaint by mobile phone company O2 about the European Commission's investigations concerning roaming services.

The aim of the inquiry is to determine if there has been maladministration by the Commission.

According to O2, the Commission did not grant proper rights of defence to the company in the framework of proceedings against O2.

In 2000, the European Commission started a sector inquiry into the market for roaming services. In March 2001, the Commission decided to open proceedings against British and German mobile phone operators, which included inspections and consultations with the operators and external experts.

In July 2004, the Commission sent a statement to O2, alleging that it had been abusing a dominant market position by charging excessive fees for roaming services.

According to O2, the Commission failed to grant the complainant proper rights of defence. O2 criticised the Commission for failing to provide proper access to files and information as well as for failing to allow for a reasonable timeframe for responding to allegations. Further allegations of the complainant include the infringement of O2's right to a supplementary statement of objections and of the right to be heard properly.

The Ombudsman has asked the Commission to provide its opinion on this case by 31 December 2006.


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