Advanced Television

Final date set for SES vs Intelsat

March 22, 2022

The long-running legal dispute between SES and Intelsat over the 50/50 division of payments from the FCC and its ‘incentive’ payments for the C-band spectrum and re-allocation for 5G now has an end in sight.

The new date is April 19th and the Virginia bankruptcy court, under Judge Keith Phillips, will hear both sides and their arguments regarding submissions on the litigant’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

Both SES and Intelsat have filed hundreds of pages of evidence already examined and admitted in earlier hearings.

SES is alleging that behind the scenes, and despite numerous admissions from Intelsat staffers that the 50/50 agreement between SES and Intelsat was agreed and understood while the C-Band Alliance (CBA) was in existence, that Intelsat towards the end of the CBA relationship commenced secret ‘backchannels’ to the FCC to “increase Intelsat’s individual allocation at SES’s expense”.

The SES list of evidence runs to 142 pages and restates its view that it is entitled to recover from Intelsat for reneging on its promise to share the FCC’s proceeds on a 50/50 basis, and possibly more under its “unjust enrichment” and damages argument.

Intelsat’s submission to the court runs to 158 pages. One of its key arguments is that Intelsat US LLC did not owe a fiduciary duty to SES. Nor was Intelsat US LLC a signatory to the C-Band agreement. Nor was Intelsat Licence a signatory. Nor was Intelsat Jackson, another ‘sister company’ liable.

Both parties have also listed copious lists of evidence statements and documents that are already entered into the court’s records.

The core claim by SES is that the overall FCC payments to the two litigants, totalling $8.84 billion, should be split on a 50/50 basis. If successful SES could receive about $421 million extra on top of the existing $3.97 billion already awarded by the FCC. Intelsat was awarded a total of $4.87 billion. The icing on the SES cake would be elements of damages and other penalties awarded against Intelsat.

Nobody is currently talking of appeals should a decision go against one or the other litigants.

Categories: Blogs, Inside Satellite, Policy, Regulation

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