The biggest Bulgarian telecom operator A1, member of Austria Telekom Group, fined for abuse of stronger bargaining position

Author: Eleonora Mateina

December 2018, Kluwer Competition Law Blog

A fine of slightly above EUR 400 000 was imposed to the biggest Bulgarian telecom operator – A1 Bulgaria, member of Telekom Austria Group (“A1”) for abuse of stronger bargaining position in its contractual relationship with its former sales representative – Handy Bulgaria (“Handy”).

The relationship between the two companies started back in 2005, when Handy started rolling a large store network across the entire country to distribute A1 products, mainly mobile telephone subscription plans and mobile phones. In 2017 the telecom operator decided to terminate the sales representation agreement. Handy, being almost fully dependent by the legal and economic relation with A1, saw this act as abuse of stronger bargaining position in the meaning of Art. 37a of the Bulgarian Competition Protection Act (“CPA”).