Luxembourg, 9 November 2012 – In October 2012, Eutelsat commenced arbitral proceedings against SES in relation to the 28.5 degrees East orbital position. SES has been granted rights to use German Ku-band orbital frequencies at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position effective from October 4, 2013 onwards pursuant to a 2005 agreement with German media service provider, Media Broadcast (“MB”) (as successor to T-Systems Business Services). MB holds a license for these frequencies issued by the Bundesnetzagentur, the German regulator, on the basis of German filings that have priority under the rules of the ITU.
The agreement will give SES the right to use, on its fleet, 500 MHz of bandwidth at this orbital position adjacent to SES’s 28.2 degrees East in the frequency bands 11.45 – 11.70 GHz and 12.50 – 12.75 GHz in downlink and 14.00-14.50 GHz in uplink. SES has procured and will launch and operate new satellites (ASTRA 2E and ASTRA 2G) at 28.2/28.5 degrees East, along with the recently launched ASTRA 2F satellite, to replace SES’s existing fleet at 28.2 degrees East and to provide new capacity. The new satellites in this neighbourhood will use the additional frequency spectrum as of October 2013 for DTH satellite television services in the U.K. and Ireland and for other services inside and outside of Europe.
Eutelsat is currently operating these frequencies on the Eurobird-1 satellite (also known as Eutelsat 28A) under a 1999 agreement with Deutsche Telekom AG (“DTAG”), the former license holder of these rights before it transferred in 2002 its satellite activity to MB (then a subsidiary of DTAG called T-Systems Business Services). Eutelsat has commenced arbitral proceedings against DTAG and MB in April 2011, claiming that it has the rights to use these frequencies beyond October 2013.
In the arbitral proceedings against SES, Eutelsat is seeking (i) a declaration that SES cannot use such frequency bands either from 28.5 degrees East or nearby orbital positions without breaching a 1999 intersystem coordination agreement between Eutelsat and SES, (ii) an order prohibiting SES from using the frequency bands above and (iii) an order on damages for such alleged breach of agreement and costs. SES strongly disagrees with Eutelsat’s position and will vigorously defend its right to use these frequencies from October 4, 2013 on the basis, among other things, that (i) Eutelsat’s rights to use these frequencies will expire on October 3, 2013, (ii) nothing in the 1999 agreement prevents SES from using these frequencies as of October 4, 2013, (iii) pursuant to a 2005 agreement with MB, SES has been granted the rights to use these frequencies and (iv) the filings pursuant to which MB’s license for these frequencies was issued by the Bundesnetzagentur have priority under the rules of the ITU.
The launches of ASTRA 2E and ASTRA 2G are scheduled for 2013 and 2014, respectively.