* Wants injunction to block frequencies transfer
* Potential impact on broader Hutchison-Orange Austria deal
(Adds court confirmation, background)
VIENNA Jan 2 T-Mobile Austria has appealed
against the allocation of radio frequencies that will result
from Hutchison Whampoa's takeover of Orange Austria
, in a move that could derail the 1.3 billion euro ($1.7
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters last month
the Deutsche Telekom unit planned the appeal over
fears that rivals will have a headstart of up to a year in
building next-generation networks.
The ability to build an LTE (long-term evolution) network
with data speeds up to 10 times those now available will be a
key competitive advantage in Austria's telecoms market.
The country's four operators are engaged in a price war,
fighting over a population of just 8.4 million with
all-inclusive, no-strings offers from 7 euros ($9) per month.
T-Mobile said on Wednesday it lodged an appeal on Monday
with Austria's higher administrative court against the decision
of the telecom control commission, the TKK, for the transfer of
frequencies that will accompany the merger.
It asked for the transfer to be put on hold while its case
was being heard and expects the court to decide within days
whether to grant an injunction in the case which, it said, could
last until March or April.
A court spokesman said it had received the appeal.
T-Mobile wants an injunction that could delay or even derail
Hutchison's agreed takeover of France Telecom's Orange Austria
unit, which will reduce the number of mobile operators in the
country to three from four.
The merger was thought to have overcome all regulatory
hurdles last month after almost a year of negotiations when the
European Commission approved it and Austria's competition
authority dropped its opposition.
The frequencies T-Mobile will end up with are not adjacent,
unlike those of Hutchison and the biggest operator, Telekom
Austria, meaning it will not be able to begin building
an LTE network until after a spectrum auction next year.
T-Mobile said it would cost about 90 million euros
additional investment and annual operating costs in the tens of
millions to handle rising data demand via standard UMTS
Telekom Austria is set to acquire frequencies from Orange as
part of a 390 million euro agreement to acquire budget mobile
brand Yesss, which is linked to the Hutchison-Orange deal.
If all the necessary approvals are not received by the end
of January, Telekom Austria has an option to get out of the
Yesss deal, a transaction it can ill afford as it has already
cut its dividend payout to conserve cash.
Telekom Austria declined to comment.
Deutsche Telekom shares rose 1.7 percent, Orange Austria
part-owner France Telecom was up 1.9 percent and Telekom Austria
gained 2.5 percent by 1130 GMT in a broad share rally.
($1 = 0.7585 euro)
(Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by
David Holmes and Dan Lalor)