The Spanish Court, Audiencia Nacional, has rejected appeals from Telefónica, Vodafone and Orange against the RTVE tax refusing to return the €1.6 billion paid by them since 2010.
The refusal is a new setback to the operators which also saw their appeals rejected by the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Justice.
The operators had appealed against the 0.9 per cent tax of revenues to finance the public broadcaster RTVE on the grounds that it was “a double or triple tax” against equality and free competition principles since they, as pay-TV operators, were already paying a 1.5 per cent tax to RTVE.
Since 2010, the operators have been paying an average of €140 million a year for the telco tax on RTVE. The Spanish legal setback comes at a time when the Government has eliminated the 0.9 per cent tax to boost the deployment of 5G in the country and alleviate telcos obligations.