Deutsche Telekom's Czech unit, others offer to settle EU antitrust charges

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and GSM antennas are seen atop the company's headquarters in Bonn

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Deutsche Telekom's Czech mobile unit, 02 Czech Republic and Czech telecoms infrastructure provider Cetin have offered concessions to settle charges of restricting competition, EU antitrust regulators said on Friday.

The companies would avoid a possible fine and a finding of wrongdoing if the offer is accepted.

The European Commission, which acts as the competition enforcer in the 27-country bloc, issued the charges in 2019. The companies struck the network sharing deal in 2011 and subsequently expanded it.

Telecoms operators are looking to share networks to reduce costs and time in the face of regulatory barriers to mergers but EU competition enforcers are worried such arrangements may breach rules.

The companies offered to modernise the mobile network by using multi-standard Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment in certain radio frequency layers and also set and review the financial conditions for unilateral network deployments.

They will also ensure that investments or services provided by their partners on their behalf will be cost-based pricing, and limit information exchange to only that which is necessary for the operation of the shared network.

The companies will take measures to ensure that CETIN prevent information spill-over between T-Mobile CZ and O2 CZ.

The Commission says it will decide whether to accept the offer following feedback from third parties. The proposal would remain in force until Oct. 28, 2033 if accepted.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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