Eutelsat, SES settle dispute

Eutelsat and SES have settled their dispute and concluded a series of agreements concerning the 28.5 degrees East orbital position and containing long-term commercial and frequency coordination elements.

The first agreement ends the arbitral procedure between Eutelsat and SES that was initiated in October 2012 and concerned a right of use of 500MHz spectrum at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position.

Eutelsat ceased to operate this spectrum on 3 October 2013 and SES has operated this spectrum since that date. The dispute over this right of use has now been resolved, with SES continuing to operate its satellites at this location, and Eutelsat independently commercialising part of the capacity of the previously disputed frequencies.

Through the second agreement Eutelsat has contracted long-term satellite capacity on the SES satellite fleet at the 28.5 degrees East orbital position. It will commercialise over Europe on the SES fleet 125 MHz (eight transponders) of the formerly disputed 500MHZ. Eutelsat will also commercialise on the SES fleet the 250 MHz (12 transponders) which was not the subject of the legal proceedings.

The 20 transponders will be operated on three new satellites which SES is deploying at the 28.2/28.5 degrees East neighbourhood – Astra 2F, Astra 2E and Astra 2G, the last being planned for launch for later this year.

The third agreement addresses technical frequency coordination under the rules of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It will allow both parties an optimised use of their respective spectrum at a number of orbital positions over Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"Eutelsat and SES have taken a pragmatic and business-like approach to reaching this settlement. These long-term agreements clarify the conditions for interference-free operations, enabling each company to independently expand its commercial activity in a competitive environment" Michel de Rosen, chairman and CEO of Eutelsat said.

SES sees these agreements as a key asset to "create a secure framework for operations in major broadcasting and data markets in Europe, Middle East and Africa," according to Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES.

Following the settlement of this dispute, Eutelsat estimates the impact on revenues for its fiscal year 2013-2014 at approximately minus €5 million.

There will be no impact on revenues in the two following years.

(Source: Rapid TV News )