Vodafone wins German court victory over Telekom duct charges

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(Copyright Reuters 2017)

Germany's highest federal court handed Vodafone a victory on Tuesday in a dispute with Deutsche Telekom over how the former state monopoly charges for the use of cable ducts, Vodafone said.

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The dispute concerns around 400 million euros ($430 million) that Vodafone says Telekom has overcharged it in rent for using the cable network that Deutsche Telekom built before it had to spin it off as part of its privatization.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said the Federal Court of Justice had overturned a ruling of a lower court in favor of Deutsche Telekom and referred the case back to that court to determine whether and to what extent Vodafone's claims were founded.

"In our opinion, Telekom is abusing its dominant position with the high rental fees for the use of cable ducts," the spokeswoman said.

The Federal Court of Justice was not reachable after office hours.

Deutsche Telekom said it was confident the lower court would again find in its favor.

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"We expect that the higher regional court will agree with our view that the size of the demand is not justified," a spokesman said.

(Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Georgina Prodhan)