Thanks to a Tweet from Guardian Tech, we were alerted to a story about trouble brewing between the European Commission and the ITU: here.
Frankly, we are surprised it has taken this long. In short, the European Commission has decided to sort out the selection and authorisation of S-Band mobile satellite services operators in the EU: see Decision 626/2008/EC.
What still hasn’t been sorted out, as far as we can see, is the issue of national licence fees. The operators selected by the Commission will still need to get national spectrum licences (or even recognised spectrum access licences). At what cost? Article 7 of the Decision is silent on this, only requiring member states to grant authorisations to the selected operators in accordance with Community and national laws.
If the cost set in some member states is low, expect the existing mobile phone operators, in particular the 3G operators who paid fortunes in the 3G licence auctions, to come out fighting.