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Will Eutelsat’s departure delay 5G roll-out?

Eutelsat has officially stepped away from the C-Band Alliance (CBA). According to a statement just released, Eutelsat wishes to take a direct role in the discussion on C-band clearing and re-purposing with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

CBA, which now comprises Intelsat, Telesat and SES, has been in discussions with FCC to repurpose C-band for 5G deployment in the US.

Within the same day of Eutelsat’s announcement, CBA issued a response to reaffirm its goals to facilitate expeditiously its market-based proposal and that the departure of Eutelsat does not impact CBA. The statement stated: “They 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.”

Furthermore, it noted that the remaining members of CBA represent approximately 95% of the affected revenues in the US C-band market.

Sami Kassab, an analyst at investment bank Exane/BNPP, told Satnews: “At this stage, we see this announcement as a negotiation tactic for Eutelsat to increase its share of proceeds from the CBA.

“We also believe it may reflect management belief that it may maximise its economic interest by going alone (rather than in the CBA) given its expectations of the regulatory framework the FCC might ultimately adopt.

“We do not believe that this decision will delay the FCC final order (… 5G roll-out in the US has precedent over satellite C-band proceed allocation).”



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