United Group: Telekom proves we are right to insist on market conditions

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Source: N1

The United Group said on Thursday that it’s decision not to sign a distribution contract with the non-existent company Supernova was the right thing to do.

“At the very least it is inappropriate for a company like Telekom to have deceived the public and its users for days, trying to settle accounts in public with the United Group because we did not fall for their manipulation,” the UG said in a statement.  

“Telekom Director Vladimir Lucic tried, through Prva TV whose owner was paid 200 million Euro from the Telekom budget for cable networks and through the Kurir tabloid whose info channel Kurir TV is speedily negotiating to replace N1 on their network, to take a step which is not characteristic for the business world, that is to place “select” sections of notes and letters on negotiations with us. The publication of those “select” sections shows that our decision not to sign a contract with the non-existent firm Supernova was correct.  

“If the entire exchange of notes and letters was published instead of the selection, the public could clearly see that the United Group offered them ALL the channels that they distributed to date, including N1 and Sport Klub but for the entire Telekom network and all users which we have written proof of.  

“The United Group insisted on a transparent contract so that Telekom’s phantom firm could not pirate our signal. That is actually the demand which is being put forward as a lie about the limiting of territory because, as a serious company, we only wanted proof of where they would distribute the signal of our programs and to how many users.  

“Our legal demand to know where Telekom’s phantom firm will distribute our channels is being placed as another false accusation that “we are limiting the development of Telekom”. As a company which faces “forbidden cities” in Serbia where we can’t offer our services, it is clear how untrue and absurd the claim is that we can limit the development of “the state favorite” which enjoys all legal and illegal state aid.  

“We would like to remind the public that Telekom Serbia was the one to ban Radio TV Serbia programs on our platforms for a million people outside the country, demanding dozens of times higher prices for a television that is already being paid for by all citizens of Serbia and which represents the general interest for our citizens abroad.  

“That is when we filed a complaint with the Commission to Protect Competition over the non-market agreement between the RTS and Telekom Serbia but, the Commission decided to protect the state operator and public broadcaster instead of protecting the market and the citizens and did not launch proceedings. Not one single media outlet reported on the story of preventing the diaspora from watching the national TV.  

“Now the Telekom has filed a complaint against United Group with the same Commission demanding a quick decision while the media under the control of the authorities are reporting the story as if our channels are not commercial but have to be handed to the Telekom under pressure and in non-transparent conditions.  

“Also, the citizens of Serbia should know that we never received an offer from Telekom Serbia to distribute their programs such as Arena Sport, maybe because as a state company they are banned by law from owning a media outlet. We are calling the Telekom management to start negotiations in a serious and transparent manner on a comprehensive process to create equal market conditions for all operators and open the telecommunications market in Serbia for all participants under equal conditions and in line with the law.  

“The principled stand of the United Group is in line with all laws and regulations on European Union markets and with legislature in the developed countries of the world.  

“We are convinced that the citizens of Serbia, despite the persecution we are subjected to, will realize that we are operating in their interest by insisting on a transparent contract and respect for the law,” the United Group statement said.