January 22, 2015 / 4:00 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Deutsche Telekom Austria unit wins round in frequency battle

(Adds comments from 3, Telekom Austria)

VIENNA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Deutsche Telekom unit T-Mobile Austria has won a round in a legal battle over mobile frequencies as it tries to get bandwidth in a coveted range, it said on Thursday.

T-Mobile said the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had sided with it in a dispute over whether T-Mobile should have a say in splitting up frequencies after Hutchison Whampoa’s local unit 3 took over Orange Austria in 2012.

Local regulators had ruled it did not have legal standing to be a party to the proceedings, allowing 3 to keep some of the frequencies and sell some to Telekom Austria.

An Austrian administrative court that had asked the ECJ for guidance now has to address the case again, but said it would follow the ECJ’s ruling.

“Our goal was and is for UMTS frequencies in the 2100 megahertz range to be divided equally and not to have two market participants favoured,” T-Mobile Austria Chief Executive Andreas Bierwirth said in a statement.

“Based on this decision, we will try to reach a reasonable solution with everyone involved in this matter,” he added.

Its rivals played down the ruling’s significance.

“In our view T-Mobil’s getting to be a party to the proceeding does not mean it has the right to buy frequencies,” a Telekom Austria spokesman said.

Hutchison’s 3 took a similar line, saying telecoms regulator TKK was not expected to decide any differently even if the local court grants T-Mobile legal standing. (Reporting by Angelika Gruber and Michael Shields; Editing by Mark Potter and Keith Weir)

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