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BT wins interconnect appeal

Vodafone out of pocket

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The Competition Appeal Tribunal - the court which regulates regulators - has ruled that Oftel (now Ofcom) overstepped its authority when it ordered BT to cut fees it charges mobile operators to link radio base stations to their mobile telephone exchanges. The case centred on whether these "back haul circuits" could be considered "interconnection" as defined by European law.

Mobile operators have either bought these circuits from BT or provided their own - Vodafone and O2 bought most of theirs while newer entrants like Orange and 3 have installed their own.

The tribunal ruled that linking base stations to an operator's exchanges or switches was not an example of interconnection and therefore not protected by Oftel. The decision safeguards about £50m in annual revenue for BT, according to the Financial Times.

The full 123-page judgement is available for download here. ®

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