© Iliad Italia
The transalpine subsidiary of the Iliad group, owner of Free, claims compensation of 71 million euros from its competitor Telecom Italia.
The establishment of Iliad in Italy now almost two years ago to the day was more than a gamble for Xavier Niel’s group: it was a real ambition. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Italian subsidiary of the company had 5.8 million subscribers, with a significant gain of 525,000 customers over the last three months. So a success. But according to Iliad, its arrival on the market was hampered by competitor Telecom Italia.
Iliad Italia denounces having been short-circuited by its competitor
For Iliad Italia, the time for settling accounts has come. The Italian subsidiary of the French group has launched a legal action in a court in the Lombard capital, in Milan, against its competitor Telecom Italia (owner of the first Italian operator, TIM, with around 30 million subscribers).
More specifically, the action is directed against MVNO Kena Mobile, the low-cost virtual mobile network operator of Telecom Italia, which is to the Italian giant what La Poste Mobile is to SFR, for example. We will come back to it.
Telecom Italia launched its own low cost offer in 2017 to anticipate the arrival of Free Mobile in the country planned for the following year. According to Iliad, the operation was not carried out with respect for commercial relations and has proven to constitute unfair competition, faced with its “Rivoluzione”.
Telecom Italia wanted to grab the low cost segment
Today, Iliad claims from Telecom Italia 71.4 million euros in compensation for the damage suffered. Iliad accuses the country’s leading telecommunications operator of having deliberately hindered its arrival on the mobile telephony market by unsheathing a low-cost brand that has become monopolistic, and then pushing Iliad Italia subscribers to join Kena Mobile, with certain advantages . What constitutes an anti-competitive practice.
The offers offered by Kena Mobile were particularly attractive for the time. Aimed at young people who do not have the capacity to afford large mobile contracts, they started at 3.99 euros for 1,000 minutes of monthly calls or 4 GB of Internet over 3G. There was also an offer at 9.99 euros per month with 600 call minutes, 100 SMS and 6 GB.
It remains to be seen now whether the courts will decide to judge the methods used by Kena Mobile, which Iliad said were aimed at stifling its arrival on the low-cost package market, as an obstacle to free competition.