Highlight 2 August 2016

Krogerus advises DNA in overturning price caps set by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority

Krogerus advised the telecommunications operator DNA before the Supreme Administrative Court in an appeal concerning regulatory price caps set by the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA).

In April 2015, FICORA imposed an upper limit for prices DNA could charge its competitors for access to the part of fixed network infrastructure used to offer telephone and broadband connections to end customers. The Court overturned this decision in July 2016, having earlier suspended its implementation.

In its yearbook decision (KHO 2016:112), the Court found that FICORA had erred in its application of Finnish and EU telecoms legislation.

Firstly, the Court held that FICORA should have assessed whether DNA's prices were cost-oriented under the substantive provisions of the now-repealed Communications Market Act and not those of its successor, the Information Society Code. This was because the obligations on which the price cap was based originated from a so-called significant market power decision issued under the Communications Market Act, and the provisions of the Information Society Code could be more adverse for DNA.

Secondly, the Court held that since identical price caps had been imposed on four other large operators and spanned the majority of relevant products, the decision did not amount to an individual case, as required by law. Thirdly, the Court held that due to the potential market impact of the decisions, FICORA should have conducted hearings in line with EU and national law.

The Krogerus team was led by partner Katri Joenpolvi and counsel Mikko Pirttilä. They were assisted by senior associate Simo Autio and associate Jarno Käkelä.

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