Financial penalty regarding Directory Enquiry Service - UKE

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Financial penalty regarding Directory Enquiry Service

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A financial penalty of PLN 3 million was imposed on Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. for breaching its information obligations with respect to a comprehensive directory enquiry service.

According to the Universal Service Directive, directory information and a directory enquiry service constitute an essential access tool for publicly available telephone services and form part of the universal service obligation. Users and consumers desire comprehensive directories and a directory enquiry service covering all listed telephone subscribers and their numbers (including fixed and mobile numbers). According to that Directive Member States should ensure that at least one comprehensive telephone directory enquiry service is available to all end-users, including users of public pay telephones.

By its Decision of 14 December 2005, the President of the Office of Telecommunications and Post Regulation (predecessor of the Office of Electronic Communications) found that Telekomunikacja Polska S.A. (TP) was an operator with the biggest share in the market of universal service and laid down detailed conditions for the provision of comprehensive directory enquiry services.

In order to fulfil this obligation TP should request all operators of public telephone networks, both fixed and mobile, to conclude agreements necessary for the provision of a directory enquiry service. TP informed that as of 1 September 2006 information was available regarding the numbers of subscribers to 33 out of 56 operators of public telephone networks (without data from two mobile networks). However, the company did not use the possibility to apply to the President of UKE for shortening deadlines in the case of unsuccessful negotiations with other operators.

Thus, TP as an operator of a public fixed telephone network with the biggest share in the market of telephone services provided in the area of Poland did not fulfil the obligation to provide a directory enquiry service since it did not conclude relevant agreements necessary for the provision of this service. According to the President of UKE this situation proves that information obligations towards end users were breached, and results in the imposition of a financial penalty.

The penalty imposed by the President of UKE is significantly lower than a potential maximum amount (up to 3% of TP’s revenue for the previous year) and takes account of the following:

  • the company has already been fined for non-execution of its obligations towards users,
  • 9 months following the issuance of a Decision, despite proceedings aimed at imposing a penalty that had been on-going for 3 months, TP did not complete negotiations with the remaining operators,
  • TP did not show due diligence as it could have by requesting the President’s of UKE involvement in negotiations,
  • information obligation was fulfilled in respect of data for 1/3 of the subscribers to the public networks in the Polish telecommunications market.

While setting the amount of a financial penalty, the President of UKE took into account the company’s activity to date, in particular the fact that TP had already been fined by the regulator:

1) By its Decision of 17 September 2002, the President of URTiP imposed a financial penalty amounting to PLN 1 million for failure to implement a decision on cooperation with Netia Telekom Lublin;

2) A subsequent penalty amounting to PLN 10 million was imposed on 7 November 2005 for failure to implement a Decision of the President of URTiP on interconnection between TP and TeleNet-Mielec;

3) A subsequent penalty amounting to PLN 1 million was imposed on 27 July 2006 for failure to implement an obligation to inform users about the price of a premium rate call prior to charging;

4) A penalty of PLN 200,000 was imposed on 1 August 2006 for excessive number portability fees;

5) A penalty of PLN 50,000 was imposed by the President of UKE on 22 August 2006 for failure to submit draft modifications to tariffs for provided services with respect to a promotional offer called “Handset with a Tariff Plan” (Telefon do planu).

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