BT celebrated this week after a court ruled the U.K.'s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) was wrong to overturn Ofcom's decision to force BSkyB to wholesale its sports content at a discount.
In 2010 Ofcom ruled that Sky's wholesale rates for Sky Sports 1 and 2 prevented rivals from offering the channels at competitive prices, and imposed a fixed 'wholesale must offer' (WMO) requirement governing the wholesale fee Sky was allowed to charge.
That decision enabled BT to offer Sky Sports 1 and 2 at significantly lower prices compared to Sky itself. However, shortly after BT unveiled its new offer, Sky increased its retail prices, a move that enabled it to increase its wholesale prices, meaning that BT was making a loss on every customer who signed up to its Sky Sports offer.
Sky disputed the merits of Ofcom's ruling and successfully appealed the watchdog's decision at the CAT in 2012.
However, BT lodged an appeal of its own and on Monday, Lord Justice Aiken of the Court of Appeal concluded that there are still significant competition concerns about Sky's wholesale policy, and ordered the CAT to re-examine its decision to overturn the Ofcom-imposed limits on the wholesale price of Sky Sports 1 and 2.
"We are glad that this issue will now be considered afresh and are hopeful that the outcome will finally deliver increased competition in pay TV which would be in the best interests of consumers," said a BT spokeswoman.
"Ofcom was correct to impose the wholesale must offer on Sky and this remains essential to address the significant competition concerns with Sky's supply of its channels," she said.
Ofcom also welcomed the appeal court's decision.
"Ensuring fair and effective competition in the pay TV market has always been Ofcom's objective," said the regulator, in a statement. "Ofcom's 2010 decision that Sky must offer premium sports channels to other providers was designed to deliver choice and innovation to consumers through greater competition."