Eutelsat wishes to take a direct active part in the discussions on C-band clearing and repurposing, according to a brief statement by the satellite operator.
Asked for a clarification, Eutelsat spokeswoman Marie-Sophie Ecuer told Broadband TV News: “Eutelsat was not aligned with other members and the CBA leadership team on certain matters. In this context, leaving the CBA is the best way to have a direct involvement and to represent the interests of Eutelsat and its stakeholders and in the C-band process. We cannot be more specific.”
In response to the Eutelsat statement, C-Band Alliance members Intelsat, SES and Telecast said they are are fully committed to the market-based approach for clearing C-band spectrum in the US: “The C-Band Alliance notes the statement of Eutelsat issued today to withdraw from the Alliance. The CBA remains committed to delivering its expeditious, market-based proposal and the departure of Eutelsat does not impact the CBA’s ability to do so. The remaining members of the CBA, which represent approximately 95% of the affected revenues of the US C-band market, are aligned and committed to the process of engaging with the FCC on the proposal of rapidly clearing C-band spectrum to support the deployment of 5G services in the US.”
The CBA is an organisation tasked with the clearing and repurposing of C-band spectrum to make a portion of this band available for 5G services in the United States. It was founded last October by satellite operators Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telecast.
Eutelsat is one of four satellite operators that could gain a windfall from the sale of some C-band spectrum in the United States. The Paris-based company is, however, a small player in the US C-band market with about 5% of the affected revenue.
During a July 31, 2019 earnings call, Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer said the C-Band Alliance has not reached an agreement on a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury if the FCC chooses its spectrum plan. Belmer said the C-Band Alliance also lacks internal consensus on the details of a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury from a spectrum sale.
“There is no real agreement and alignment on that question within the CBA, contrary to what has been said in some instances recently,” Belmer said.
(Story updated twice, first with further comments by Eutelsat, the second time with a statement by the CBA.)