A day after ictQATAR announced it has resolved the row between Qtel and Vodafone Qatar, Vodafone came out with more details on ictQATAR’s ruling on the issue.
Challenging Qtel’s claim that it stood vindicated, rival Vodafone said ictQATAR has in fact ruled that Qtel must pay a penalty to the Qatari government for its unlawful actions and the case has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for assessing the appropriate penalty for violating the country’s telecom law.
Interestingly, ictQATAR that failed to provide details of the patch-up on Saturday, yesterday posted the entire history of the dispute between the two telecom companies and its rulings on the issue on its official website.
Vodafone Qatar issued a press note saying it has been receiving several queries over the contents of the decision in the patch-up meet chaired by ictQATAR. “Vodafone Qatar has received several questions about the contents of the decision and provides this press release to further explain the terms of ictQATAR’s determination, in line with Vodafone’s commitment to being honest and transparent,” the country’s second market player in the telecom sector said here yesterday.
ictQATAR’s dossier said the telecom regulator conducted a detailed investigation into the filings made by both Qtel and Vodafone Qatar.
“ictQATAR has been thorough, prompt and impartial in its investigations. After due consideration, ictQATAR concluded that virgin Mobile is a branded service of Qtel and not an unlicenced third mobile telecommunications provider,” it said.
“Virgin Mobile is not present in Qatar, either as an actual provider, seller or reseller of mobile telecommunications services. As such, the provision of Qtel’s Virgin Mobile-branded service does not require a license under Article 9 of the Telecommunications Law,” the document said.
However, ictQATAR ruled Qtel has employed potentially confusing marketing and sales techniques to promote its Virgin Mobile branded service and engaged in possible anti-competitive practices. “After thoroughly reviewing all available information, ictQATAR has determined that Qtel’s Virgin Mobile services were marketed in a manner that was misleading, anti-competitive, and an abuse of dominance for the period commencing May 13, 2010 and ending on May 18, 2010.”
“As a result, ictQATAR issued Orders on May 17 and July 15, 2010, and instructions on May 20, 2010 requiring Qtel to follow certain conduct regarding branding, marketing, and customer service when marketing its Qtel-Virgin Mobile branded services in Qatar to prevent potential future customer confusion,” the document said.
The document added: “Qtel should be compelled to pay an appropriate fine for its unlawful actions during this period and the matter has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for assessment of an appropriate penalty.”
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