TerreStar—a competitor for one of two pan-European mobile satellite service (MSS) licenses awarded to Inmarsat Ventures and Solaris Mobile, Ltd.—confirmed last week that the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg has agreed to TerreStar’s request for expedited handling of a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the licensing decision handed down last month by the European Commission (EC). Awarding spectrum license rights on a Europe-wide basis for the first time, the EC on May 14 selected Inmarsat and Solaris as the first pan-European providers of MSS network services that will utilize 2 GHz frequencies in the S-band. In so doing, the EC passed over rival bids submitted by TerreStar and ICO Satellite Ltd. Although a spokesman for the EC maintained that TerreStar “did not demonstrate the required level of technical and commercial development of their satellite system,” the company’s legal complaint states that the EC “misread” TerreStar’s submission, causing regulators to “[find] an inconsistency where none existed.” TerreStar also states in the complaint that the EC “failed to investigate the supposed inconsistency—and notably failed to review the clarifications submitted by TerreStar . . . which fully explained the issue.” TerreStar thus urged the court to expedite the case and to stay the effectiveness of the EC license award “until the court issues its ruling,” explaining: “it serves no one’s interest for the resolution of the selection and authorization of S-band MSS systems to be unduly delayed.” Sources further indicate that ICO—the operator of an S-band satellite already in orbit—has also filed suit over the EC’s decision.
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