MILAN Aug 4 British telecoms provider Vodafone
Group is suing Telecom Italia for abusing its
dominant position in Italy, seeking damages of more than 1
billion euros ($1.3 billion).
A Vodafone spokeswoman said in an email on Sunday the civil
action in Milan stated that Telecom Italia committed a series of
abuses from 2008 to 2013 "with the intention and effect of
impeding growth in competition in the Italian fixed-line
Telecom Italia rejected the claim saying it was confident it
would demonstrate the "total correctness" of its behaviour.
In May, Italy's competition authority fined Telecom Italia
about 104 million euros for abusing its dominant market position
as owner and manager of the country's largest fixed-line
Telecom Italia has said it would appeal against the
antitrust fine, which was decided after a three-year
investigation prompted by rivals Wind, Italy's third-largest
mobile operator, and broadband company Fastweb, a unit of
Vodafone said Telecom Italia had caused a loss of customers,
restricted Vodafone Italy's ability to grow its fixed-line
business, and forced it to pay artificially high costs to
compete in the market.
Vodafone Italy, which filed the lawsuit, is 77 percent owned
by Vodafone, with the rest held by the British firm's U.S.
partner Verizon Communications.
The lawsuit comes as Telecom Italia is moving ahead with a
plan to spin off its fixed-line copper network, which rivals say
gives it a competitive edge.
Last month, Vodafone posted a 3.5 percent drop in organic
service revenue with Italy and Spain posting double-digit falls
and competition increasing in its once-reliable markets of
Germany and Britain.