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DT loses online ruling

Court won't allow unfair pricing by telephone company

BERLIN — A Hamburg court has ruled against telephone and cable company Deutsche Telekom (DT), which wished to launch a pricing plan for its online service T-Online that would allow it take advantage of its position as a telephone services provider.

DT planned to offer users the service for six pfennigs (3¢) per minute, including both the provider fee and telephone costs. Rival online provider America Online Europe complained that DT was unfairly using its position as the main supplier of telephone services.

The court ruled that DT must stop advertising the service at 3¢ per minute unless it modifies its offer and breaks down publicly the telephone and online-server costs. AOL subs have to pay 4¢ per minute for the phone call plus subscriber costs.

The European Commission is also set to look into DT’s online services after another complaint by AOL Europe about DT’s behavior and pricing.

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