Some thoughts on the rise of margin squeeze as a theory of antitrust liability in the telecommunications sector
Margin squeeze used to be an obscure theory of antitrust harm, with very sparse application. In a surprising turn, it has become widely used by the Commission as a tool of enforcing Article 82 EC against telecoms incumbents. This approach has also received endorsement by the Court in the recent Deutsche Telekom judgment. The paper offers a critique of margin squeeze as a theory of antitrust liability for undertakings subject to telecommunications regulation. It also argues that the success of margin squeeze - in spite of its limitations - is due to the enforcement structure of EU telecommunications regulation and the evolving nature of the relationships between the Commission and National Regulatory Authorities ("NRA"), whereby the former tries to use the antitrust rules as a tool to keep NRA in check.