Swisscom has rejected claims that it engaged in prohibited marketing activity for sports content on its pay TV platform following a CHF 143 million (€136 million) sanction imposed by Switzerland’s competition authority.
ComCo Secretariat has claimed that Swisscom and broadcasting partner Teleclub hold a dominant market position in regards to national sports content, particularly in Swiss football and ice hockey events.
The watchdog is seeking to impose the multi-million euro fee on the grounds that Swisscom abused this market position by not making this content available to rival platforms on a non-discriminatory basis.
ComCo launched its investigation into the broadcasting of live sports on pay TV in April 2013.
Swisscom has argued that it has complied with legal guidelines surrounding the marketing of sports programmes on pay TV platforms and has participated fairly in the issuing of broadcasting rights for sports content.
It added that alongside Cinetrade - a major shareholder of Teleclub in which Swisscom owns a majority stake - the operator has helped grow Switzerland’s “neglected” sports broadcasting market through “high levels of investment”.
This has lead to attractive packages for customers via its pay TV platform and encouraged new competition in the country’s pay TV market, Swisscom said.
Television has proved to be one of the most lucrative trading areas for Swisscom recent months.
Swisscom TV saw customer numbers rise by 16.5 percent to 1.2 million in Q1 after adding 165,000 subscribers.
The operator said in a statement: “Since entering the TV business in 2006, Swisscom has opened up fierce competition in the Swiss television market and has gradually put together a comprehensive package for live broadcasts of football and ice hockey league matches.
“Thanks to this commitment from Swisscom and Cinetrade, sports fans today can benefit from a much wider selection of live broadcasts on both free TV and pay TV. For example, there are now four to six times more Swiss football matches available to watch live on free TV.”
“Swisscom will examine the current 170-page version of the draft decree in detail and issue a statement by the requested deadline.”