Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

CRC AND BTC APPEAL AGAINST GSM 3 SUSPENSION

On July 29, the Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) and the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC) presented complaints to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) against a July 15 decision of its three-member committee to terminate the preliminary implementation of the licence for a third GSM operator. The three members of the court justified the licence suspension with appeals by the Supreme Administrative Prosecutors' Office, the two mobile operators MTel and GloBul, and the unknown American company Tafetta Ltd. The magistrates explained that the proceedings initiated by the Commission on Protection of Competition would establish whether issuing a GSM licence without a tender, at 75% reduction of the initial licence fee, is a form of state assistance and if so, whether it is permitted. In its decision the three-member committee noted that according to the Law on State Assistance, assistance cannot be launched before the anti-monopolistic commission announces its opinion. It means that the price for the licence cannot be paid (BTC transferred the BGN54MN fixed in the third GSM privatisation agreement on June 9).BTC appealed against the decision, because it considered SAC's definition illegal. The appeals presented by both GloBul and Tafetta Ltd. are inadmissible, since none of these companies took part in the issuance of the licence and therefore has no legal interest in appealing, the telecommunication company announced.The legal experts of the Communications Regulation Commission explained that the actions of the magistrates were impermissible, because the court is still to announce a decision on the appeals by GloBul and Tafetta Ltd. The only protest that is admissible, considering the legal interest, is the one made by the Supreme Administrative Prosecutors' Office. However, this protest does not request termination of the preliminary implementation, the regulation commission experts claim.

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