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Inmarsat Administrative Court date set for proceedings in the Netherlands over spectrum allocation

Seeking preliminary injunction on interference risks and potential illegality of Dutch Government National Frequency Plan

Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications will seek an Administrative Court ruling in summary proceedings in the Netherlands to suspend the change in spectrum allocation set out by the Dutch Government. The hearing will take place on 17 June, 2021. Inmarsat’s action makes clear the contravention of national and international law in the proposed update to the Dutch National Frequency Plan (NFP). The change aims to reallocate spectrum currently used by essential satellite-based maritime safety services to 5G telecoms, which puts the lives of seafarers at risk and is wholly unnecessary given both satellite and telecoms services can operate together within the spectrum band in question.

Inmarsat is committed to the Netherlands, its Dutch team and to providing the company’s free of charge, life-saving safety and distress satellite services for seafarers worldwide that land at the ground station in Burum in the Northern part of the Netherlands. Inmarsat wishes to find an amicable solution to this issue with the Dutch Government and to continue providing its safety operations in Burum. The company has sought such a solution for more than two years. However, to date one has not been possible due to the intransigence of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Should the Ministry wish to resume conversations towards a mutually agreed solution, Inmarsat would continue its approach of constructive engagement in the interests of the users of the company’s vital safety services.

Given the demand of the Dutch Government for Inmarsat to undertake the enormous task of moving significant and globally essential services to another country to continue its operations, which is unnecessary following technical studies that prove that coexistence is possible between satellite services and 5G telecoms, the company has been left with no choice but to initiate these proceedings. Inmarsat wishes to continue safety services from Burum, on which millions of seafarers and aviation passengers and crew depend daily, alongside its commercial operations there. However, should a move be forced on Inmarsat, then the proposed timing of the changeover in frequency use in the NFP is unrealistic and will require a long transitional term to carry out the wholly avoidable move.