Advanced Television

Inmarsat seeks new Greek Teleport licence

May 17, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Inmarsat has to move one of its Teleports from the Netherlands to Greece. It has been arguing its case before a Dutch court to stay in the Netherlands and is seeking an alternate Greek licence to establish an Earth station in Greece.

Inmarsat is currently using C-band frequencies in the Netherlands, but the authorities are seeking to repurpose the bandwidth for 5G services. Inmarsat will not benefit from the sell-off of C-band spectrum.

Currently, Inmarsat’s Teleport is near the village of Burum, and the London-based satellite operator says it will continue operating from Burum until a new licence/location is agreed. Inmarsat uses 126 MHz of the C-band.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, in a recent Advisory Committee report on the 3.5 GHz frequency band used in the Netherlands, suggested various methods of selling off the spectrum while at the same time maintaining public safety services.

Inmarsat had taken the Dutch government to court in 2021. However, in June, the Netherlands suspended the proposed auction plan for 3.5 GHz/5G spectrum. The plan now is to auction the spectrum and see – at least some of the frequencies – in use by 5G operators by December 2023.

The advice is that Inmarsat can retain a smaller (80 MHz) slice of the spectrum until such time as essential services are in place.

The Dutch statement says: “The committee recommends that the satellite company Inmarsat move its specific services in this band to a location in Greece provided by them. The originally intended frequency space (300 Megahertz) for national mobile communication in this band, such as 5G, will be available after an auction on 1 December 2023. As long as the foreign location is not yet operational (the aim is as of 1 January 2024), the satellite company can still have limited space (80 Megahertz) to continue its activities”.

“The recommendations from the Advisory Committee focus on the protection of all Inmarsat’s safety services, for maritime and aviation users, and confirm that there are no other methods of providing these services at the present time. Therefore, the Advisory Committee has proposed measures to ensure the continuity of these essential services until a new location has been secured and is operational,” says Inmarsat.

“Inmarsat is pleased to read the recommendations from the Advisory Committee to the Ministry on the National Frequency Plan and the focus on the necessary protection of essential safety services provided via satellite by the company from Burum in Friesland. Throughout this process Inmarsat has sought to protect these essential safety services, on which millions of people rely every day, while offering a practical way forward to enable 5G mobile telecommunications in the Netherlands to begin quickly. Inmarsat congratulates the Advisory Committee on finding a resolution to this issue that is supported by all stakeholders. The company will engage with the Ministry on how to proceed following the Advisory Committee’s advice.”

“Finally, Inmarsat thanks the Advisory Committee for its diligent work and its efforts to engage with all stakeholders as it conducted its review. The company is also grateful to its own team and external advisors who have worked hard to provide the required information to the Advisory Committee and to the Ministry which has enabled a position to be reached where the essential safety services provide by Inmarsat are secured,” said Inmarsat.

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