Swisscom faces fine for ‘uncompetitive’ activity

The federal administrative court has slapped a 186-million-franc ($192-million) fine against Swisscom for abusing its dominant position in Switzerland’s telecom market.

Swisscom faces fine for 'uncompetitive' activity
Photo: Swisscom

The court based in Saint Gallen agreed with the country’s competition commission (Comco) that the former state-owned company acted in an uncompetitive way in the high-speed internet domain from 2005 to 2007.

But the court reduced the penalty imposed by Comco of 220 million francs in a judgment made public on Tuesday that could be further appealed to the supreme court.

Before the complete liberalization of the Swiss telecommunications sector in 2007, other companies in the field were reliant on Swisscom as a provider for high-speed Internet access.

But Swisscom charged rates that made it impossible to offer the service without losing money, the court’s judges determined.

They concluded that Swisscom had violated the federal law on cartels.

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Swisscom to start charging 2.90 francs for paper bills

Swiss telecommunications giant Swisscom is set to introduce new fees for customers who wish to receive a simple, non-itemized hard copy of their latest bill.

Swisscom to start charging 2.90 francs for paper bills
Swisscom has justified the new charges by saying they are standard industry practice. Photo: AFP

Until now, customers have been able to receive one of these basic bills for free, but as of October 1st, a fee of 2.90 Swiss francs (around €2.60) will apply.

At the same time, the current fee of 1.50 francs for receipt of a detailed bill will rise to 2.90 francs.

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Meanwhile, people wishing to pay their bills over the counter at a post office will have to shell out 3.90 francs as of October 1st.

Customers affected by the changes will be notified on all their bills before the new charges come in.

Holders of basic service products including Swisscom Line Basic and Swisscom Internet Basic will be exempt from the new charges.

In a statement on the new fees on its website, Swisscom said that printed bills cost the company millions every year and that these costs should not be passed on to all customers.

The same applied to costs associated with over-the-counter services at post offices, the company said.

Swisscom also justified the changes by stating these were now standard industry practice.

Rival provider UPC charges 3 francs for sending out paper bills and up to 7.50 francs for paying bills at the post office. Salt charges 2 francs a month for sending out basic bills and 5 francs a month for detailed bills. Salt also charges 3.95 francs to customers who want to pay their bills at the post office.

For Sunrise, paper bills cost 3 francs for the basic version and 4 francs for a detailed version. Payment with a so-called red slip costs 5 francs whether this is done online or in a post office.

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