COMPETITION : PRELIMINARY PROBE INTO E5 GROUP OF PHONE COMPANIES CLOSED.

The European Commission has obtained assurances about standards for future mobile communications services from the standpoint of competition. It consequently closed, on 7 March, a preliminary anti-trust investigation opened a year ago involving five major telecommunications operators (Deutsche Telecom, France Telecom, Telefonica, Vodafone and Telecom Italia, known as E5'). It had asked these operators and the mobile sector association (GSMA) to provide information on these standardisation issues to make sure that the major telecoms firms were not using standards in this area for strategic purposes, ie to shut out other companies, in breach of guidelines on horizontal cooperation agreements.

The five giants have been meeting since 2010 to discuss issues in the sector, and in particular standardisation matters. Such practices can be anti-competitive if...

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