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Telefónica docked €500,000 after “very serious” rule breaking

Telefónica has been fined €500,000 for various “very serious” breaches of competition rules in its native Spain.

Related: Telefónica launches ‘Universal Wi-Fi’ promising businesses access in 110 countries

The owner of O2 broke competition rules on two different occasions and the CNMC, the country’s competition authority, fined it €250,000 for each infraction.

One charge relates to the failure by Telefónica to notify the CNMC of changes to the prices and conditions of two Internet and TV packages identified as Movistar ADSL and Movistar Family TV on ADSL.

Telefónica’s dominant position in the Spanish market means that it must inform the regulator at least one month before marketing price plans and failed to do so in this case.

Secondly, the company was reprimanded for preventing access to 11 premium rate text message numbers being run by a competitor and the CNMC dubbed both cases “very serious” breaches of the country’s rules.

The network operator had been sanctioned over the premium rate numbers before and was ordered to unblock a total of 26 numbers, with only 15 being unblocked and the remaining 11 subject of this order.

Telefónica had a busy 2013 as it aimed to cement its place as one of Europe’s largest mobile operators. Among the acquisitions made in 2013 were KPN’s German network E-Plus that saw it become Germany’s largest network operator after paying some €8.1 billion [£6.95 billion] for the privilege.

It followed this up in August 2013 by outbidding Vodafone for a £1.5 billion government contract to roll out smart energy meters across the length and breadth of the UK.

Related: Telefónica buys KPN’s German network E-Plus to become country’s biggest operator

2014 has been similarly busy so far after it launched a ‘Universal Wi-Fi’ offering that brings together some 1.3 million Internet hotspots across the planet inside some of the world’s largest airports and hotel chains as well as offering in-flight Internet services.