The European Commission has written to the German authorities telling them it plans to open an inquiry into Deutsche Telekom's plan to charge a fee to customers who want to change to another operator.
Deutsche Telekom announced the charge of up DM95 (Ecu47) at the end of last year but has since suspended the plan because of action by the incoming independent German national telecomms operator and complaints from new market operators.
"This type of practice is not acceptable and not in line with EU regulations. If a satisfactory solution can be found at the national level, which conforms to the EU regulations, then competition commissioner Karel Van Miert will be satisfied," the Commission spokesman said.
"There is no question of a conflict with the independent regulator. On the contrary, on the immediate intervention of the national regulator, Deutsche Telekom has stopped this type of practice," he said.
In addition to writing to the German authorities, the Commission is to contact telecom operators all round the EU to see if they are planning or know of similar charges being imposed on customes who want to switch to another operator, he said.
The spokesman said he was not aware of any open network provision directive or competition directive which covers these type of charges.
The commission has not received any complaint on the German charge and hopes that the round table meeting of Deutsche Telekom and the new market entrants, which is planned by the German regulator, can solve the issue, he said.
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