The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) has halted the auction of 5G licenses at the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz band pending a decision from the Administrative Court of Appeal on whether PTS is allowed to exclude bids including equipment from Huawei and ZTE. In other news, the EU Commission has stepped up action against Amazon with a Statement of Objections and the opening of a second formal investigation. The Swedish Competition Authority is about to be granted enhanced powers, but the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises wants further legal changes to combat anti-competitive sales activities by public entities.
Swedish 5G-auction halted on ban of Huawei and ZTE. The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) has halted the auction of licenses at the 3.5 GHz and 2.3 GHz band. Four companies were approved for the auction, but the terms included a ban of equipment from Huawei and ZTE. The Administrative Court ruled that said ban was illegal, but PTS has appealed the ruling to the Administrative Court of Appeal and is halting the auction awaiting a decision. https://www.pts.se/sv/nyheter/radio/2020/pts-pausar-5g-auktion/
EU Commission extends action against Amazon. The Commission has sent Amazon a Statement of Objections over the preliminary view that Amazon systematically rely on non-public business data of independent sellers who sell on its marketplace to the benefit of Amazon’s own retail business. Additionally, the Commission has opened a second formal antitrust investigation against Amazon over possible preferential treatment of Amazon’s own retail offers and those of marketplace sellers that use Amazon’s logistics and delivery services. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_20_2077
Government proposes enhanced powers of the Swedish Competition Authority. In 2018, the SCA was granted the power to prohibit a merger, which previously had required the SCA to raise an action in the courts. Now, the government has proposed a bill effective March 2021 that will grant the SCA additional powers, including decision-making powers on matters relating to administrative fines and enhanced powers in connection with unannounced inspections in line with the EU directive. https://www.regeringen.se/4acce0/contentassets/edc4ecd81d014d3cb7339876ed977d38/konkurrensverkets-befogenheter-prop.-20202151.pdf
Calls for legal changes to combat sales activities by public entities. The Confederation of Swedish Enterprises asks for legal amendments to battle anti-competitive sales activities by public entities, arguing that problems are increasing but enforcement is increasingly difficult. Their suggestions include a presumption about anti-competitive effects, a clarification that long-term effects are to be considered, possible anonymity for complainants, and that the Swedish Competition Authority be granted powers to decide in cases as the first instance (a power recently granted for merger control and about to be granted for administrative fines). https://www.svensktnaringsliv.se/sakomraden/foretagsjuridik/sa-far-vi-stopp-pa-snedvriden-konkurrens-fran-det-offentliga_1156681.html