Inmarsat looks to relocate ground station from Netherlands to Greece

Satellite operator Inmarsat

Satellite operator Inmarsat is looking to relocate one of its ground stations from the Netherlands to Greece in order to sell its spectrum for 5G.

SpaceNews reports the company looking to relocate its ground station in Burum in order to sell the C-band spectrum the site uses for maritime safety services to 5G wireless operators.

Last year Inmarsat sued the Dutch government over plans to sell the 3.5Ghz bandwidth, seeking to maintain its access to the band. The court sided with the satellite firm, telling the government to work with the company.

According to the external advisory committee, Inmarsat should move from Burum but part of the operator’s 3.5 GHz spectrum should not go to wireless operators until the operator sets up a ground station elsewhere.

As a result, the company is working with authorities in Greece to secure a license.

The British satellite operator previously argued that moving out of the northern Netherlands village of Burum was unnecessary because it was possible its services could share the spectrum band.

“Throughout this process Inmarsat has sought to protect these essential safety services, on which millions of people rely every day, while offering a practical way forward to enable 5G mobile telecommunications in the Netherlands to begin quickly,” Inmarsat chief operating officer Jason Smith said in an emailed statement. “Inmarsat will continue to operate in the current spectrum from Burum before moving operations — but not people — to a new location outside the Netherlands once a license elsewhere is confirmed. Inmarsat is working with the authorities in Greece to secure a license to operate there.”

The company has another European ground station in Fucino in central Italy, however, the company says it requires two stations in the area for redundancy.

If Inmarsat has not moved its Dutch ground station by December 2023, the committee recommends the company be allowed to continue operating the site but with a smaller 80 MHz swath of the spectrum, down from the current 126 MHz.

“The committee recommends that the satellite company Inmarsat relocate its specific services in this band to a location they provide in Greece. On the basis of the advice, the Ministry of Economic Affairs will … continue to consult with the satellite company about facilitating its intended move to Greece,” the Dutch government said in a May 12 news release.

Inmarsat sat is currently being acquired by ViaSat.