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Vodafone, O2, Three and EE have won a case against Ofcom claiming that the UK comms regulator's increase in spectrum fees was unfair.
The ruling could result in a £220m rebate for UK mobile providers.
Verdict - Licence - Fees - Spectrum - Use
The verdict relates to annual licence fees for mobile spectrum use coughed to Ofcom by the firms between 2015 and 2017.
Four years ago, the networks sued the regulator in the High Court over a 2015 fee hike, claiming it was too high. After Ofcom won the initial case, a Court of Appeal reversed the first verdict, saying Ofcom and the court had misunderstood a Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport directive on pricing.
November - EE/BT - Ofcom - Price - Hike
In November 2017, EE/BT successfully challenged Ofcom's price hike, meaning the fees went back to 2011 levels.
Then, in September last year, Vodafone and its fellow operators sued to claw back "overpaid" spectrum access charges for the 900MHz and 1,800MHz bands.
Judgement - PDF - Ground - Sides - Regulator
The 38-page judgement (PDF) finds some common ground between the two sides. The regulator and operators agreed the increased Annual Licence Fees introduced in 2015 by amending the 2011 regulations were not in reality legally changed so Ofcom needed to pay back some money. What they disagreed on is how the amount of restitution should have been calculated.
The mobile operators wanted to be paid the difference between what they forked...
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