A US Bankruptcy Court judge on July 7th approved the $1.37 billion sale of TerreStar’s assets to Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network.
The deal means that Dish gets access to 20 MHz of satellite and matching terrestrial bandwidth. It is the third such acquisition for Ergen and represents a major shift away from its core DTH pay-TV business. One way or another Ergen now owns Hughes Communications (bought for $1.33 billion), DBSD North America (better known as ICO North America, and bought for $1.4 billion) and now TerreStar. Dish Network also bought the assets of video rental outfit Blockbuster for $320 million.
TerreStar 1, launched in July 2009, was the largest-ever commercial satellite launched. Its S-band frequencies are matched by terrestrial ground segment, also in S-band, and were approved by the FCC in January 2010. The plan is to supply next-generation voice, data and other services to users “anywhere in the USA or Canada,” says the firm’s website.
However, last-minute objections to the deal were submitted to the court by telco AT&T and Space Systems/Loral.