OSLO, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Norway's competition authority has warned it is considering imposing a fine of 906 million kroner (106 million U.S. dollars) on Telenor, the country's partially state-owned telecommunications company, public broadcaster NRK reported on Wednesday.
The Competition Authority warned Telenor about the record high fee due to its abuse of its dominant position by engaging in conduct that impeded the entry of a third competing mobile network.
The authority has investigated the case for four years after a raid in Telenor in December 2012, which concerned possible abuse of a dominant position in the Norwegian mobile communications market.
Currently, Norway has two nationwide mobile networks, belonging to Telenor and Telia. It is the authority's preliminary conclusion that Telenor abused its dominant position in the period between 2010 and 2014 as its conduct amounted to two separate abuses that put the roll out of the third mobile network at risk.
From 2007 onwards, Network Norway and Tele2 established a third mobile network in Norway. During the network roll-out phase, Telenor was required to provide them with access to its network in areas where the third network was not yet present, the Competition Authority said in a statement.
The first abuse regards Telenor's conditions for giving Network Norway access to its network when the third network was under construction. These conditions reduced the profitability of building the third network.
The second abuse regards the fact that Telenor entered exclusive supply agreements with four mobile operators, reducing the ability of the third network to get customers.
Lars Sorgard, director general of the Competition Authority, said this fine is the biggest so far in Norway and it is a serious case considering that it refers to a big and important market for many consumers.
Norway is one of the few countries in Europe having only two nationwide mobile networks, which restricts competition, the NRK reported. The authority said a dominant company such as Telenor has a special responsibility to avoid limited competition.
The Competition Authority said that a final decision in the case has not yet been made and Telenor has been invited to submit its comments by March 1, 2017.
Telenor's officials said they are surprised and that they disagree with the authority's preliminary assessment.
"Telenor is surprised by the notice since the Asker and Baerum District Court took a position in 2012 regarding the same type of agreement and concluded that double roaming prohibition was legal according to competition rules," said Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway, Telenor's wholly-owned Norwegian mobile operation.
She said Telenor had waited for four years to hear the authority's assessment and the company will "carefully review the preliminary assessment before considering how to respond."
Norway's industry ministry, which owns 54 percent of Telenor on behalf of the state, did not want to comment on the case.