Austria’s 3G licensees have launched a joint lawsuit against the country’s government seeking a tax rebate of GBP140 million. The operators are basing their claim on the sixth European VAT directive, which requires governments to charge a sales tax on commercial telecoms services. Austria is being seen as a crucial test for the directive because the country has a strong tradition of forwarding cases to the European Court of Justice. If the Austrian telcos are successful at Europe’s highest court, companies in other European countries are expected to launch similar lawsuits. In Germany, for example, it is estimated that as much as GBP7 billion in rebates could be up for grabs.