Hughes Network Systems and Inmarsat are asking the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to amend its C-band auction plans to avoid giving Intelsat and SES an unfair competitive advantage in other spectrum bands and neighboring markets.
The court overseeing an effort by three satellite operators to prevent the FCC’s December C-band auction ruled against a motion that would have halted the auction, a decision that allows the auction schedule to hold but does not end the legal dispute.
Paris-based Eutelsat told the FCC that it will have to replace one geostationary satellite it previously did not plan to replace as a result of the FCC decision to clear spectrum for U.S. 5G networks.
A key U.S. senator who stymied Intelsat and SES’s proposal last year to privately auction a swath of public airwaves to 5G wireless providers took aim Tuesday at the billions in incentives the satellite operators now stand to receive for vacating the spectrum ahead of schedule.
Boeing and Northrop Grumman will each build two geostationary communications satellites for SES designed specifically for C-band services in the United States, SES announced June 16.
Fleet operator Intelsat on June 15 said it has ordered six new satellites — four from Maxar Technologies and two from Northrop Grumman — that it needs to continue telecommunications services in the United States with less spectrum by early December 2023.
SES is two to three weeks away from ordering six C-band satellites to replace older satellites whose usefulness will be cut short by the FCC’s upcoming spectrum auction, SES CEO Steve Collar told SpaceNews.
Rationalization of the startup landscape and the right sizing of company balance sheets is inevitable, paving the way for “Space 3.0,” which will see the profitable and sustainable exploitation of entirely new market opportunities, backed by a growing base of enlightened stakeholders.
Intelsat hopes it can eliminate around half of its $15 billion debt load through bankruptcy, a move that would free the company to invest in next generation satellite technologies, according to a company executive.
Bermuda-based ABS and Hispasat of Spain have teamed up with Argentine satellite operator Arsat, saying the C-band auction plan the FCC adopted earlier this year robs them of their spectrum rights.
Maxar said the satellite order, which industry analysts say is likely driven by a U.S. effort to clear satellite C-band spectrum to make way for 5G wireless networks, is a “multi-hundred million dollar contract.”
Cyrus Capital Partners, a $4 billion investment advisory firm with offices in New York and London, said Intelsat appears to be headed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing after it skipped a $125 million interest payment due April 15.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Feb. 28 voted to auction a large portion of C-band in December under a plan that includes $9.7 billion in incentives to expedite relocating satellite operators out of the spectrum to make way for high-speed 5G networks.
Telesat and SES are urging the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to reject Intelsat’s request for a larger share of the $9.7 billion in incentive payments the FCC plans to offer satellite operators to hasten the clearing of C-band spectrum the United States wants to repurpose for 5G cellular networks.
SES has started its own campaign for more money, arguing that “undisputed facts conclusively show that Intelsat and SES deserve equal shares of any accelerated relocation payments.”
Intelsat on Feb. 19 urged the FCC to give the company at least $1 billion more of $9.7 billion in proposed compensation for clearing C-band spectrum for 5G networks and to treat the C-Band Alliance Intelsat formed with rivals SES and Telesat as essentially dead.