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TELIA

Telia “abused market position”

The Swedish Competition Authority is to begin legal action against Telia Sonera, alleging that the telecoms company has "selectively applied more favourable conditions to private customers who had cancelled their fixed line subscription and changed to a competitor to Telia Sonera".

The Competition Authority is seeking a penalty of 44 million kronor from Telia Sonera.

It said in a press release that Telia Sonera had abused its dominant position in the market, which is forbidden.

Telia Sonera’s objective with the different conditions was, according to the Competition Authority, to lure back those customers who had cancelled their subscription. The breach of the rules is said to have taken place in 2003 and 2004.

“The company was guilty of a serious infringement of competition law when it abused its dominant position in this way,” said Director General of the Swedish Competition Authority, Claes Norgren.

This is the second time the Competition Authority has brought an action against Telia. In autumn 2004 the company was accused of abusing its position in the market for ADSL services. That case has not yet come to court but the Competition Authority is seeking fines of 144 million kronor.

PRIVACY

Telia leaks customers’ private phone logs

Swedish telecom firm Telia has come under fire after the company published customers' private information, leaked their bills online, and revealed lists of SMS and phone call recipients.

Telia leaks customers' private phone logs

Several customers of Telia, the Swedish subsidiary of Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera, learned this week that their information had been leaked for several months and was still available on Google cached documents. One of those affected was 28-year-old Madelene Dalebrand Wachler from Hudiksvall in eastern Sweden.

“[Swedish tabloid] Aftonbladet rang me and explained that my billing statements were viewable online… you could come in directly and see it all – all the calls I’d made and all the people to whom I had sent an SMS,” she told The Local.

The information came with names, addresses, telephone numbers and even lengths of the phone calls.

“It’s terrible. Some of the people I had contacted had private and unpublished numbers, and all of this has been leaked by Telia,” she added.

Wachler has since contacted authorities at Sweden’s Data Inspectorate (Datainspektionen) who have promised to launch an investigation into the matter.

“I’m also looking into getting compensation from Telia. Information shouldn’t be available like this, it’s horrible and it’s quite scary actually. And it makes it harder to trust all these big companies,” she said.

Telia spokesman Hans G. Larsson was shocked to learn of the leaks, confirming that only a few people were affected.

“This in unacceptable, of course, and it’s something we will be looking into. We do offer our customers confidentiality and this involves the data protection act,” he told Aftonbladet.

He explained that the system had been shuttered later on Monday night, which meant no customers were able to see their own statements online at the time.

“If you need to pay a bill over the coming days, you can log into My Pages [Mina sidor] on Telia to see the statements,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

“Thank goodness, this seems to have been very limited. Nothing points to it being a large group of customers being affected, but it’s bad enough already,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

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