Satellite operator Eutelsat has lost power from six full transponders on its Eutelsat-25A craft which mainly serves the Middle East. The loss has been confirmed by France’s National Frequency Agency and Eutelsat itself. The interference has been in effect since July 14.

The French agency says it has made a formal complaint to the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, and to the government of Saudi Arabia where Arabsat is headquartered.

Relations between Arabsat and Eutelsat have become increasingly strained over the past few months because both parties claim transmission rights from the 25 degrees East slot. Trade newspaper Space News quotes an unidentified source stating that the interference was either deliberate or an extraordinary error by Arabsat. Eutelsat says it has pin-pointed the source of the interference as coming from Arabsat.

Eutelsat’s existing customers at 25.5 degrees East have been moved to other satellites.

However, the news could not have come at a worst time. An agreement covering future access to the 25 degrees East orbital slot is reported to have been hammered out at a special meeting of the ITU back on July 4. This latest problem could scupper that agreement.