(Adds operators, association comments)
PRAGUE, March 13 Czech competition watchdog UOHS
said on Monday it would start an investigation into the national
market for mobile telecoms services to see if there is any
illegal coordinated action among network operators.
"The goal will be to find out whether there exists any
reason for the competition regulator to take action in these
markets," it said in a statement on its website.
"This will concern investigating indications whether ...
there has been banned coordination by competitors, or abuse of a
dominant position," it said.
Network operators O2 Czech Republic, Deutsche
Telekom's T-Mobile and Vodafone have faced
growing criticism by politicians who say Czechs pay some of the
highest prices for mobile telecom services in Europe.
Political parties agreed earlier this month to fast-track
legislation this year before an October election with the aim of
bringing prices down by giving more powers to the telecoms
regulator and strengthening consumers' rights.
The competition regulator's move came as a surprise after it
had earlier said it had no reason to act.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said the company was ready to
cooperate. O2 declined to comment on the regulator's
announcement on Monday. T-Mobile referred to a statement from
the Association of Mobile Networks Operators.
Its operating director, Jiri Grund, said the regulator's
move was the right one. "I believe this step will contribute to
clearing the situation on the Czech telecommunications market."
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Jan Lopatka, Greg