£480m payout in pipeline for 4G smartphone users

£480 million could be reimbursed to more than 29 million mobile phone owners if legal action against tech giant Qualcomm is successful.

Qualcomm is a global manufacturer of chipsets and owner of patents, used in a range of products including certain smartphones, to enable these products to connect to 4G networks.

Which? made a legal claim against the company, which it has said will “recoup the cost” of what the UK watchdog describes as “anticompetitive practices” that have resulted in inflated smartphone prices.

Apple and Samsung smartphone users could be reimbursed up to £30 each, depending on which devices they bought and how many they purchased between 1 October 2015 and the end of the claim period.

Anabel Hoult, chief executive of Which?, said: "We believe Qualcomm’s practices are anti-competitive and have so far taken around £480m from UK consumers’ pockets – this needs to stop. We are sending a clear warning that if companies such as Qualcomm indulge in manipulative practices which harm consumers, Which? is prepared to take action.

She added: "If Qualcomm has abused its market power, it must be held to account. Without Which? bringing this claim on behalf of millions of affected UK consumers, it would simply not be realistic for people to seek damages from the company on an individual basis – that’s why it’s so important that consumers can come together and claim the redress they’re entitled to."

Christine Trimble, Qualcomm's vice president, public affairs, said: “There is no basis for this lawsuit. As the plaintiffs are well aware, their claims were effectively put to rest last summer by a unanimous panel of judges at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States.”

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