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Eutelsat loses $120m dispute with Mexico

September 20, 2021

By Chris Forrester

Eutelsat Americas has been in a long-running dispute with Mexico. The argument arises out of a regulatory requirement to reserve a certain amount of megahertz of capacity for Mexican government use. Mexico has won the arbitration.

Mexico alleged that Satmex (which Eutelsat bought in 2014) had been required to provide a greater amount of megahertz to the State than its competitors, and without payment. The action has been running since August 2017.

Eutelsat, in essence, argued that Mexico had acted in a discriminatory manner and that Eutelsat had been required to provide a greater amount of megahertz to Mexico than its satellite competitors.

Former Eutelsat Americas CEO Patricio Northland argued that that there was not fair dealing between Mexico and Eutelsat. “We consider that the authorities must be fair in their dealings. We feel that there is a negative perception by the authorities,” Northland told Mediatelecom, back in May 2016. “Only in the Eutelsat 113 West A (formerly Satmex 6) satellite we are asked for more than 131 MHz of available spectrum and for other two satellites in operation, relatively similar capacities are required. In total, we must have 363 MHz reserved, about seven percent of our capacity,” he added.

The action (Eutelsat SA vs United Mexican States) was subject to arbitration and the verdict was announced on September 15th.

The Mexican government confirmed the verdict on September 17th and stated that the arbitration tribunal dismissed “all of Eutelsat’s claims” and ordered Eutelsat to pay part of the Mexican fees and costs and described the verdict as a “great achievement” for the Mexican state.

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