The Israel Antitrust Authority on Wednesday slapped a NIS 30 million ($8.2 million) fine on Bezeq, claiming that it had unfairly used its size and influence to engage in anti-competitive practices. In addition to the fine on the company, the Authority fined a NIS 700,000 fine on one of the company’s senior executives.
According to the Communications Law, Bezeq, the private company that inherited the publicly-funded telephone land-line (PSTN) infrastructure, is obligated to share that infrastructure with companies that seek to offer wired services, especially Internet connections. According to the Authority, Bezeq sought to prevent competitors from entering into arrangements to utilize the infrastructure. When they were unable to do so, the company tried to use its size and resources to box out competitors from the market.
The Authority said that it made its decision after a year of investigation. The decision was based on a detailed gathering of data on Bezeq and its competitors. In a statement, the Authority said it had questioned many experts in order to make its determination, including international experts.
In a statement, Bezeq said that “in our opinion the decision made by the Authority is based on errors. Bezeq cooperated with the Authority throughout its investigation, and showed that all the actions it took were within the limitations of the law. Bezeq provided other communications firms with the required services, and even worked with companies to install and establish their presence on the infrastructure. We are positive that at the hearing stage we will prove that it acted properly.”