Cade condemns cartel in prepaid recharge market

During its 125th Trial Session, CADE’s Tribunal unanimously condemned a cartel that operated in the market of recharges for prepaid phone. The conduct consisted of agreements on the percentage of discounts and commissions for points of sale (PoS); market division; exchange of information on defaulting PoS (a black list); and exchange of sensitive information about the market. Only the companies Check Express, Rede Digital and Rede Ponto Certo, and 8 individuals did not enter into a Plea Agreement (TCC, in Portuguese) or joined the corresponding Leniency Agreement.

Based on the evidence obtained (e-mails and minutes of meetings), the Reporting Commissioner Cristiane Alkmin understood that the participation of Check Express and the Digital Network in the cartel had been demonstrated. In turn, there was no evidence to prove Rede Ponto Certo’s participation, so the complaint against it was closed. All the other Commissioners followed her merits analysis.

Commissioners Bandeira Maia and João Paulo diverged about the fines calculation. The former applied a 12% rate on the turnover of the companies in the affected business sector, in the year before the administrative proceeding was opened. The latter, following the thesis that he has been defending at CADE, related the fine to the advantage obtained by the companies during the conduct (due to the prices increase). The Tribunal imposed fines in accordance with Commissioner Bandeira Maia’s vote.