TerreStar to challenge EU on Solaris Mobile

Chris Forrester

Two weeks ago the EU approved the granting of S-Band satellite licences over Europe to Solaris Mobile and Inmarsat. The two failed applicants are now threatening legal action. ICO Global has already confirmed it intends to challenge the EU. Now the other failed applicant, TerreStar Europe, has filed suit.

The S-Band transmissions are likely to be used to broadcast TV to mobile devices. TerreStar says it has brought an action against the European Commission before the Court of First Instance in Luxembourg, seeking the annulment of the Decision of 13 May 2009 selecting two operators of pan-European mobile satellite services (MSS) in the EU.

TerreStar Europe believes that a prompt and narrowly focused review by the Court can address the Commission's mistake without interfering with the Commission's goals for this process. The Commission's Decision excluded TerreStar Europe on a technicality at a preliminary stage of the selection procedure. The action argues that the Commission misread TerreStar Europe's submission, finding an inconsistency where none existed. In addition, the Commission failed to investigate the supposed inconsistency -- and notably failed to review the clarifications voluntarily submitted by TerreStar Europe, which fully explained the issue.

TerreStar Europe is asking the Court to rule on this case quickly and to suspend the Decision until the Court issues its ruling. TerreStar Europe believes that it serves no one's interest for the resolution of the selection and authorization of S-Band MSS systems to be unduly delayed.