TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT PROVIDER, ACCUSED OF CARTEL CONDUCT, AGREES TO PAY R5 MILLION IN SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
A provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions has agreed to pay a settlement amount of R5 million after being accused of allegedly colluding to divide markets.
In terms of a settlement agreement concluded between ZTE Corporation South Africa (Pty) Ltd (“ZTE SA”) and the Competition Commission (“the Commission”), ZTE SA also agrees to refrain from engaging in any prohibited practice or anti-competitive conduct, in contravention of the Competition Act (“the Act”), in future. Furthermore, the firm agrees to implement a competition law compliance programme.
Although ZTE SA has agreed to the terms of the settlement agreement, it does not admit liability in respect of the conduct as alleged by the Commission. The Commission, in turn, has agreed to enter into the settlement agreement with ZTE SA without an admission of liability, based on various factors, read with the remedies contained in the settlement agreement, including that ZTE SA has not previously been found guilty of contravening the Act.
The settlement agreement has been confirmed as an order by the Tribunal and a public version, containing further details, will be available on the Tribunal’s website at www.comptrib.co.za.
In 2013, the Commission launched an investigation into ZTE Corporation (China) (“ZTE China”), ZTE Hong Kong Ltd (“ZTE HK”), ZTE SA and ZTE Mzansi (Pty) Ltd (“ZTE Mzansi”) for allegedly allocating customers in the market for the supply of telecommunications equipment and network solutions in South Africa. It had been alleged that in 2011, ZTE SA and ZTE Mzansi agreed to divide markets by allocating customers between themselves.
The Commission alleged that the parties agreed to divide the market in that ZTE Mzansi would distribute telecommunications equipment and network solutions to public sector customers while ZTE SA would distribute similar products to private sector customers. The Commission alleged that this contravened section (4)(1)(b)(ii) of the Act.
Gillian de Gouveia, Communications Officer
On behalf of the Competition Tribunal of South Africa
Cell: +27 (0) 82 410 1195
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