Intelsat had a reasonable set of results on May 1st, but it was a decision by the FCC to examine how its C-band spectrum might be utilised by the upcoming 5G technology that drove Intelsat’s share price to extremely dizzy heights that day.
At one stage, Intelsat’s stock jumped 42 per cent before settling back at a day-on-day improvement of a still spectacular 33.4 per cent higher. Intel, a fellow proposer of the C-band scheme, saw its share value jump 2.6 per cent.
Europe’s stock markets were closed, but SES is also likely to benefit from the FCC news.
In essence, the FCC has ‘frozen’ C-band licences and applications for spectrum in order better to study how future mobile broadband could utilise spectrum. The FCC wants its study to wrap by September 23rd 2019.
As one analyst succinctly put it in his Intelsat flash note to investors: “Stuff the results, Let’s talk C-band again!” Indeed, Giles Thorne at investment bank Jefferies said that Intelsat’s comments that “there is significant interest from the FCC, the US Congress and the Trump administration [in the C-band proposal]” he nevertheless reminded investors that while Intelsat has focused on 100 MHz of its capacity “because that is readily achievable within 18 months of an FCC order; re-farming requires modifications in the network such as additional equipment, relocation of some facilities, even some change in the configuration of existing / future satellites; Intelsat doesn’t control the C-band timing and won’t manage its capital structure to C-band developments; the question as to whether Intelsat tries to inject a sale of satellite capacity for 5G cellular backhaul into the “market-based mechanism” is an interesting one and something that management are mulling; no comment on how SES and Intelsat have worked out the split of a windfall.