Spain regulator starts disciplinary proceedings against Orange

MADRID Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:20am EST

MADRID Feb 25 (Reuters) - Spain's antitrust body said it had kicked off disciplinary proceedings against France Telecom's Orange for failing to give it timely notice of its purchase of KPN's mobile operator Simyo.

On Feb. 13, the regulator approved the purchase of the virtual operator, which does not have its own network but rents it from established players. But the watchdog said on Monday Orange had completed the deal on Dec. 14 before it informed the regulator.

Orange and KPN did not disclose financial details of the deal.

Orange inherited 380,000 clients from KPN, taking the total number of its customers in Spain to 12.2 million. It has said it intends to keep Simyo as a low-cost operator and would not change tariffs.

The regulator said it had a maximum of six months to reach a final resolution on the matter, which could result in a fine for Orange. The operator was fined in December, along with peers Telefonica and Vodafone, for charging too much for text messages. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Writing by Clare Kane; editing by Jane Baird)

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