Contingent liabilities

This section provides additional information and explains recent changes in the contingent liabilities as described in the consolidated financial statements for the 2020 financial year.

Claims relating to charges for the shared use of cable ducts. In proceedings instituted against Telekom Deutschland GmbH by Kabel Deutschland Vertrieb und Service GmbH (now Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH) on the one hand and Unitymedia Hessen GmbH & Co. KG (now Vodafone Hessen GmbH), Unitymedia NRW GmbH (now Vodafone NRW GmbH), and Kabel BW GmbH (now Vodafone BW GmbH) on the other, the Federal Court of Justice in its rulings of May 18, 2021 allowed the plaintiffs’ appeals to the extent that the proceedings relate to claims for the period from January 1, 2012 (for Vodafone Kabel Deutschland GmbH) and from January 1, 2016 (for the remaining plaintiffs). At present the financial impact of both these proceedings cannot be assessed with sufficient certainty.

Prospectus liability proceedings (third public offering, or DT3). This relates to initially around 2,600 ongoing lawsuits from some 16,000 alleged buyers of T-Shares sold on the basis of the prospectus published on May 26, 2000. The plaintiffs assert that individual figures given in this prospectus were inaccurate or incomplete. The amount in dispute currently totals approximately EUR 78 million plus interest. Some of the actions are also directed at KfW and/or the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the banks that handled the issuances. The Frankfurt/Main Regional Court had issued orders for reference to the Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court in accordance with the German Capital Investor Model Proceedings Act (Kapitalanleger-Musterverfahrensgesetz – KapMuG) and has temporarily suspended the initial proceedings. On May 16, 2012, the Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court had ruled that there were no material errors in Deutsche Telekom AG’s prospectus. In its decision on October 21, 2014, the Federal Court of Justice partly revoked this ruling, determined that there was a mistake in the prospectus, and referred the case back to the Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court. On November 30, 2016, the Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court ruled that the mistake in the prospectus identified by the Federal Court of Justice could result in liability on the part of Deutsche Telekom AG, although the details of that liability would have to be established in the initial proceedings. Following an appeal from both parties, in February 2021 the Federal Court of Justice once again referred the proceedings back to the Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court. Deutsche Telekom has recognized appropriate provisions for risks as of June 30, 2021 in the statement of financial position.

Claims for damages against Slovak Telekom following a European Commission decision to impose fines. The European Commission decided on October 15, 2014 that Slovak Telekom had abused its market power on the Slovak broadband market and as a result imposed fines on Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom, which were paid in full in January 2015. In 2018, following an appeal by Slovak Telekom and Deutsche Telekom, the Court of the European Union partially overturned the European Commission’s ruling and reduced the fines by a total of EUR 13 million. A ruling of March 25, 2021 dismissed in full a further appeal with the European Court of Justice. Following the decision of the European Commission, competitors had filed damage actions against Slovak Telekom with the civil court in Bratislava. These claims seek compensation for alleged damages due to Slovak Telekom’s abuse of a dominant market position, as determined by the European Commission. At present, two claims totaling EUR 112 million plus interest are still pending. It is currently not possible to estimate the financial impact with sufficient certainty.

Sprint Merger Class Action. On June 4, 2021, a shareholder class action and derivative action was filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery against Deutsche Telekom, SoftBank, T‑Mobile US, and certain current and former officers and directors, asserting breach of fiduciary duties relating to the repricing amendment to the Business Combination Agreement, as well as SoftBank’s subsequent monetization of its T‑Mobile shares. At present the financial impact of this proceeding cannot be assessed with sufficient certainty.