ICO reiterates opposition to EC S-Band allocation award, continues to ‘assess its options’

Not that it adds that much to the story, but – following the award of the European S-Band frequencies to Solaris Mobile/Inmarsat – ICO, which was passed over, has reiterated its opposition to the whole allocation process – officially known as Decision No. 626/2008/EC.

In a statement released last week, ICO said it was “challenging this process, having initiated legal proceedings in September 2008 in the European Court of First Instance seeking the annulment of Decision No. 626/2008/EC of the European Parliament.”

ICO argues that the Decision – essentially the one that gave rise to the European beauty contest – is illegal and should be annulled “pursuant to Articles 230 and 231 of the Treaty establishing the European Community”. ICO noted that as these legal proceedings had not been completed by the October 2008 deadline to submit applications to the EC to provide mobile satellite services in the S-Band above Europe, it decided to go ahead and file an application anyway, ‘without prejudice.’

Michael Corkery, acting chief executive officer of ICO, is quoted in the statement as saying: “ICO has spent years clearing the S-band worldwide, has an operational satellite using this frequency band and is registered in the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Master International Frequency Register (MIFR). We believe the just-concluded EU process jeopardizes years of international cooperation and coordination that has governed satellite communications worldwide.” Corkery concluded that “ICO will continue assessing its options in defending its international legal rights.”

This doesn’t give any clue as to whether ICO will be asking for a judicial review of Ofcom’s proposal to recommend that the ITU allocations referred to above be rescinded, but it’s only got until the end of this week.