Greek watchdog fines phone co OTE 9 mln euros

ATHENS, July 28 (Reuters) - Greece's telecoms regulator (EETT) has fined the country's largest phone group OTE OTEr.AT a total of 9 million euros ($14.2 million) for breaching competition rules, the watchdog said on Monday.

OTE, which is partly owned by Deutsche Telekom DTEGn.DE, was fined after the former phone monopoly's main fixed-line competitor Tellas complained to the regulator it did not have fair access to the national network to provide its customers with new products.

“EETT ruled that OTE, with its position as the exclusive network provider, violated open access laws,” the regulator said in a statement on its Web site. “The result was that Tellas had to suspend its commercial promotion of its product.”

OTE officials were not immediately available for comment.

Tellas, owned by Wind Telecoms, wanted to offer “double-play” packages, or combined fixed-line and Internet services, but delayed this after OTE put up obstacles to the immediate use of its network, EETT said.

The watchdog has also received further complaints from other alternate Greek operators.

OTE has continued to lose fixed-line clients to smaller operators since Greece opened its market in 2001. This has weighed on the group’s profits but higher broadband Internet usage has helped partly to offset it. (Reporting by George Hatzidakis; Editing by David Holmes)