Advanced Television

Eutelsat pushes for greater share of CBA ‘windfall’

October 8, 2019

More information has emerged of a recent meeting between Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer and the Chairman and two Commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and at which Belmer told Chairman Ajit Pai that Eutelsat was in favour of freeing up a slightly higher portion of C-band spectrum (around 25 per cent) and would consider re-joining the C-Band Association (CBA).

Eutelsat quit the CBA a month ago and the move has generally been seen as being an attempt to win a larger slice of any financial windfall that could flow to members of the CBA.

A routine document from the FCC issued on October 4th states that Eutelsat “expressed its willingness” to re-join the CBA during the transition phase of the C-band process whereby frequencies are auctioned off for re-use by 5G telcos.

According to the FCC filing Belmer is in favour of freeing up more than the initial batch of 200 MHz of capacity [and the FCC is reportedly looking for 300 MHz to be reallocated].

Sami Kassab, an equity analyst at Exane/BNPP, in a note to clients on October 7th said: “We take this filing as suggesting that our scenario on C-band is on track and that satellite operators will be able to monetise their C-band spectrum rights. Eutelsat is unlikely to hold out and is keen to go back into the CBA under the right conditions.”

SES shares responded well to the report on October 7th and rose at one stage by 2.94 per cent to €16.82. Profit taking brought that rise down and the day finished at €16.66.

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