CAT says Ofcom was right to call on BT to repay overcharges

23 Mar 2011

British fixed line incumbent BT Group has had its appeal rejected by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) against a regulatory claim by telecom regulator Ofcom that it overcharged a number of the country’s wireless operators for access to circuits. According to Bloomberg, Ofcom’s finding said that BT had overcharged cellcos to the tune of some GBP41.7 million (USD68.3 million), prompting BT to appeal with the claim that Ofcom had misused a dispute resolution process after the watchdog sought repayment of the charges instead of setting ‘fair’ prices for the future. In its ruling the CAT said however: ‘Ofcom’s use of the dispute resolution process in this case was unimpeachable,’ with the tribunal noting that the regulator correctly used its power ‘by ordering that the entire amount of BT’s overcharge should be repaid.’ For its part BT said that it was disappointed with the latest development, but noted that it would now ‘consider the range of options open to [it] for what [it] might do next’.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Ofcom