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Deutsche Telekom Wins Kabel Deutschland Case Over Duct Fees

Kabel Deutschland Holding AG lost a suit seeking 350 million euros ($468 million) from Deutsche Telekom AG over claims Germany’s former phone monopoly overcharged its rival for the use of cable ducts.

The Frankfurt Regional Court rejected Kabel Deutschland’s argument that Deutsche Telekom violated antitrust rules since 2003, Arne Hasse, the tribunal’s spokesman said in an e-mailed statement today. Deutsche Telekom doesn’t have a dominant market position in the area, according to the court.

“Because the suit also sought a declaratory judgment covering the future, the economic value of the case is in the billions,” Hasse said.

Kabel Deutschland, the cable provider being bought by Vodafone Group Plc, argued that a ruling by Germany’s telecommunications regulator forcing the company to charge less for use of the “last mile” of its network indicated that the duct fees were also too high.

Marco Gassen, a spokesman for Unterfoehring-based Kabel Deutschland, said the company will most likely appeal after it analyzes the judgment.

The court backed Deutsche Telekom’s position, company spokesman Andreas Middel said.

When the suit was filed last year, Kabel Deutschland said the annual fee of about 100 million euros needed to be cut by about two thirds. The company had bought Deutsche Telekom’s cable network in 2003 and part of the deal was the fee agreement for the duct use.

The lease arrangement was part of Kabel Deutschland’s decision to take over the cable network, the court said today. Since Deutsche Telekom had no dominant market position, the telecommunication regulator’s rulings didn’t play a role in the case, according to the judges.

The case is LG Frankfurt am Main, 2-06 O 182/12.

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