Monday, November 19, 2018

Metaswitch files antitrust suit against Ribbon Communications

Metaswitch Networks has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Ribbon Communications alleging that the company is illegally using its dominant market position to hurt competition.

Metaswitch notes that it is Ribbon’s only significant remaining competitor in the U.S. and Canada that competes to transform and modernize rural land-line telephone networks for the use of VoIP. The lawsuit alleges that Ribbon has aggressively consolidated the industry through serial acquisitions and is illegally using exclusionary and deceptive tactics to eliminate its last major competitor in the market.

Specifically, the complaint alleges that after Metaswitch refused to be acquired by Ribbon in 2013, Ribbon launched an anticompetitive campaign to “kill Metaswitch”, including by asserting certain intellectual property rights in bad faith and in contravention of royalty-free licensing obligations, systematically maligning Metaswitch to customers with false and misleading information, and coercing customers to choose Ribbon instead of Metaswitch with anticompetitive pricing practices, among other things.

Martin Lund, Metaswitch Chief Executive Officer stated, “This litigation seeks to ensure Americans’ access to desperately needed land-line network upgrades, particularly in rural areas where cellular service can be less reliable. If left unchecked, Ribbon will be free to raise prices for more than 700 local network operators who will have no choice but to either slow down much-needed upgrades or to pass on the impact of increased costs to consumers.”

Lund added, “Blatant efforts to dominate a captive market and price gouge are exactly what the antitrust laws are designed to stop. We are pursuing this case not just to protect Metaswitch, but because we believe Ribbon’s conduct is hindering customers’ ability to make fixed-line upgrades that could enhance the day-to-day lives of millions.”

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