Sami Kassab, a satellite analyst at investment bank Exane/BNPP, commenting on the disagreements between Intelsat and SES – the core members of the C-Band Alliance (CBA) – says in his view the CBA has “fallen apart”.
An SES statement, issued February 20th, read: “[We are] disappointed by Intelsat’s eleventh-hour attempt to renounce its commitments made to other CBA members…in an attempt to capture a greater share of the proposed accelerated relocation payments’. SES claims Intelsat approach is disappointing not legally compliant and that it will hold Intelsat responsible under its commitments.”
Kassab said: “In our view, this suggests the CBA has fallen apart. We believe this does not matter much any longer given that in the Draft Order the FCC treats each satellite operator individually in terms of obligations and compensation. Intelsat has much to lose as the current level of C-band payment appears to be too low to satisfy the company’s upcoming debt obligations. On the other hand, SES has no debt issues and much to gain from the C-band payment. Consequently, SES has reaffirmed its support for the FCC’s objectives.”
He continued: “While it’s premature to take a strong view (availability or orbital slots, willingness of content companies to change providers, etc), we see the optionality that SES ends up playing a greater role in the repacking (launching more satellites, installing more filters), if Intelsat were to adopt more of an adversarial position (unlikely at this stage).”