MADRID, Sept 16 French telecoms firm Orange's
Spanish unit has lodged a complaint with the country's
competition regulator over a tie-up between rivals Telefonica
and TeliaSonera's Yoigo, the company said on
Spain's biggest mobile operator Telefonica signed a deal
with fourth-biggest provider Yoigo in August, allowing it to use
its smaller rival's superfast 4G mobile network in exchange for
access to Telefonica's fixed line broadband network.
The move was a jolt to Spain's highly competitive telecoms
market where operators are racing to beat rivals with low
prices, often by marketing bundled services offering mobile and
fixed-line services. Around a quarter of Spain's workforce is
Orange believes the tie-up hurts market competition by
removing Yoigo as a contender and turning it into an off-shoot
of Telefonica, helping the former monopoly to gain more market
share in fixed-line services, according to a company source.
The agreement between the two rivals damages other players
in the market and Orange wants it suspended, the source said.
Yoigo was previously unable to offer broadband services but
is now able to compete with companies like Orange and Vodafone
offering bundled services. Telefonica at the time did
not have 4G frequencies and was unable to compete on that front,
though it now plans to launch its own 4G network in Spain.
Orange and Vodafone teamed up earlier this year to build
their own fibre optic network in Spain and signed a deal at the
beginning of July to have access in the interim to Telefonica's
fibre optic network so they can offer their customers faster
Spain's recession has led mobile phone customers to ditch
their handsets or switch to low-cost operators to save money,
meaning cheaper providers are gaining market share as
heavyweights like Telefonica lose ground.
(Reporting by Clare Kane; Editing by Greg Mahlich)