Slovak Telekom sues regulator over ‘retroactivity’ of licensing decision

Slovak Telekom (ST) has launched a challenge at the Supreme Court against a decision by the Telecommunications Office (TÚ), which regulates the sector, to turn down an application lodged by ST in January 2011 to prolong its licence to operate mobile telephone networks. At the time the law did not allow the state to charge a fee for licence prolongation, the Sme daily wrote. A law change, introducing a fee for extension of licenses and cancelling all previous proceedings, took effect in April 2011, after which ST’s renewed application was resubmitted and granted – but only in return for a fee.

Slovak Telekom (ST) has launched a challenge at the Supreme Court against a decision by the Telecommunications Office (TÚ), which regulates the sector, to turn down an application lodged by ST in January 2011 to prolong its licence to operate mobile telephone networks. At the time the law did not allow the state to charge a fee for licence prolongation, the Sme daily wrote. A law change, introducing a fee for extension of licenses and cancelling all previous proceedings, took effect in April 2011, after which ST’s renewed application was resubmitted and granted – but only in return for a fee.

Slovak Telekom, in its suit filed at the Supreme Court, is also challenging what it says is the retroactivity of the amendment; it is also calling for verification of the amendment’s legality by the Constitutional Court. ST will probably also sue the TÚ for its decision to charge a fee amounting to almost €48 million for prolonging the validity of its licences by ten years, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Supreme Court is due to decide on the case next week; if its judges accepted ST’s arguments, the state would have to pay back the fee charged to Slovak Telekom and prolong its licences for free, Sme wrote. This verdict could also affect another mobile operator, Orange Slovensko, which could also claim that the amendment, under which it paid €40.7 million for prolongation of its licences, is invalid.

Slovak Telekom is 49-percent state-owned.

Source: Sme, SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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