A1 in Croatia under suspicion of cartel

A1 in Croatia under suspicion of cartel
The A1 headquarters in Vienna
Image: Apa/Harald Schneider

In addition to A1, Hrvatski Telekom (HT) and Telemach are suspected of illegal agreements in the introduction of an indexation clause in their general terms and conditions, Croatian media reported. The telecom operators reject the allegations.

The authority announced yesterday, Thursday, that the procedure had been initiated at the end of last year. In addition to the three telecom operators, the ICT cluster HUP is also being investigated. The procedure is intended to determine whether competition in the market has been restricted by an unlawful agreement, it said.

Telecom operators emphasized in their reactions that the adjustment of prices for services to the annual inflation rate is in line with the opinion of the Croatian Network Industry Regulatory Authority (HAKOM) from 2022.

The Telekom Austria subsidiary ruled out any agreement or coordination between the telecommunications companies on the introduction of the indexation clause. “This is exclusively a business decision of the company, in accordance with EU practice and the opinion of HAKOM,” A1 said, according to the Hina news agency.

Below the inflation rate

HAKOM gave telecom operators the opportunity to adjust their tariffs to the inflation rate last year, similar to what operators did across Europe. The adjustment should not exceed the annual inflation rate of the previous year. This opportunity was used by all three companies: in 2023 they introduced the indexation clause, which increased the prices of their services. According to Hina, prices at A1 rose by 8.5 percent, at Telemach by 8.3 percent, while the Deutsche Telekom subsidiary HT increased its prices by 5 percent. Croatia’s inflation rate was 10.8 percent in 2022.

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