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BT and One2One back in court over 3G

They want £85 million off Gordon Brown

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BT and Deutsche Telekom-owned One2One were back in court yesterday asking the government for £85 million a piece from 3G licence payments.

When the Treasury asked for its first payment on the licences for next-generation phones, BT and One2One coughed up on time. However, Vodafone and Orange were given three months longer to pay because Vodafone was in the course of buying Mannesmann, which owned Orange. As part of the buy, Vodafone had to sell off Orange - which it did, to France Telecom.

While the payment delay is understandable, BT and One2One feel it equates to illegal state aid to the tune of £85 million a piece in lost interest.

The companies took the case to the High Court in October but a judge decided the argument wasn't valid. They both appealed immediately and this is what kicked off yesterday. The case is expected to last the rest of the week, with a judgement in late summer.

Gordon Brown used the huge sums of money paid for the licences to pay off national debt and then using the money saved in not paying interest to pay for public services. ®

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