Competition Authority Starts Investigation into Cell Phone Cartels

On May 23, the Albanian Competition Authority (AK) decided that start a preliminary investigation into the market of pre-paid cell phone packages.

According to several complaints deposited at the AK, the main providers in Albania – Vodafone Albania, Telekom Albania, Albtelecom Mobile, and Plus Communication – coordinate the prices of pre-paid packages, thus forming an illegal cartel. Around 90% of the Albanian cell phone market is based on such pre-paid offers.

The decision of the AK will focus on three large unnamed telecom providers, one with a dominant position and two with minority position in the market. Together the three companies under investigation serve 95% of the pre-paid package market.

Telecom providers are one of the largest sponsors of government events.

The AK will investigate price changes in the three companies between January 1, 2016, and May 23, 2017. The investigation is expected to take three months.