The case involved the provision of satellite safety services from the UK company’s ground station in Borum in Friesland, in the north of the Netherlands.
The Administrative Court has now ruled to suspend the Dutch Government’s update to the National Frequency Plan that reallocated spectrum used by Inmarsat’s C-band (3.5GHz) for essential safety and distress services to 5G telecoms from 1 September 2022. The court has also recommended that the Dutch Government hold talks to find a solution or risk the full court proceedings annulling the National Frequency Plan altogether.
Note that the hearing took place on 17 June 2021.
“Inmarsat welcomes the ruling of the Dutch Administrative Court acknowledging the fact that the company’s vital communication services to protect lives at sea must be protected,” said Brad Swann, General Counsel at Inmarsat. “Inmarsat looks forward to working with the Dutch Government to deliver a solution that does not compromise satellite safety services.”
Back in April, Inmarsat launched the civil court proceedings in the Netherlands over the issue 5G spectrum allocation. It said it was looking to protect its provision of maritime and aviation safety services from Borum.
The UK satellite operator was seeking a judge’s ruling on potential illegality of the country’s proposed National Frequency Plan. Basically, it was seeking an injunction to review the change in spectrum allocation set out by the Dutch Government.
The change would reallocate spectrum currently used by essential satellite-based maritime safety services to 5G telecoms, stated the company (such as Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) systems). It believed the change was unnecessary given that both can operate together within the spectrum band in question.
Inmarsat highlights the importance of its ground station in Burum, in the northern tip of the Netherlands, for providing maritime and flight safety services.
Image: Astrium – Inmarsat Alphasat satellite, built by Astrium