CORRECTED | Satellite operators oppose Intelsat-Intel proposal to share C-band spectrum

by

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story and summaries in the Oct. 4 issues of First Up and First Up Satcom mistakenly reported that S&P Global downgraded Intelsat Sept. 26. The downgrade happened in 2016.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California — Global satellite operators attending the Satellite Innovation Symposium here reacted angrily to news that Intelsat and Intel asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to allow terrestrial communications firms to use satellite-controlled C-band spectrum for future 5G networks.

“It’s not possible for Intelsat to trade anything they they don’t own,” Thomas Choi, Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) chief executive, said Oct. 3. “Many operators, including SES, Eutelsat and even ABS have C-band rights over North America. We would never agree to trade that.”

David Hartshorn, secretary general of the Global VSAT Forum, called the FCC filing “a remarkable development” because Intelsat has been among the firms who have been the most staunch defenders of C-band spectrum for satellite in the face of terrestrial competition for spectrum.

C-band is critically important for many satellite customers, including the U.S. government, maritime operators and the cable industry, which uses it for distribution, added Sergy Mummert, SES Satellites senior vice president for corporate development Americas.

Mike Antonovich, is Eutelsat Americas chief executive, suggested the filing was an act of desperation.

“I look at the Intel deal as no more than a drowning man reaching out for an anchor,” he said.

Intelsat shares rose 11 percent on news of the C-band-sharing proposal.