Telefonica loses antitrust fine appeal

Telefonica has lost its fight to cancel out a $202 million (152 million) antitrust fine.

The third biggest global telecoms provider, which also owns O2 in the UK, was trying to wriggle out of the fine it acquired back in 2007 after regulators at the European Commission accused the company of unfairly charging rivals and users from 2002-06.

The watchdog claimed that Telefonica had fleeced its Spanish customers, charging them around 20 percent more than the average compared to 15 EU countries for high-speed net access. It also pointed the finger at the company, claiming it had charged its competitors, which had to use part of its network for broadband services, extortionate prices.

At the time Telefonica threw its toys out of the pram, calling the commission‘s move “unjustified and disproportionate,” and announcing an EU court appeal to seek “the total cancellation of the inexplicable” penalty.

However, it ended up red faced today when the court’s judges at the Luxembourg General Court – Europe’s second highest – rejected its arguments.

According to Reuters, it backed the fine imposed by the Commission claiming that “Telefonica had abused its dominant position.”