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Inmarsat sues Dutch government over 5G bandwidth

AMSTERDAM, March 30 (Reuters) - Inmarsat, the satellite communications company, said on Tuesday it has filed a civil suit against the Dutch government seeking to maintain its access to the 3.5Ghz bandwidth, which the state is planning to auction in 2022 for use in 5G telecommunications.

Inmarsat spokesman Matthew Knowles said the company uses the frequency for safety communications with sea traffic from its site in Burum, Netherlands. The company argues the bandwidth could be shared without difficulty under a plan it has proposed to the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Inmarsat was purchased by a group of investors led by Apax and Warburg Pincus for $3.4 billion in January 2020.

Dutch government spokesman Harald Hanemaaijer said the approaching end of the availability of the 3.5GHz bandwidth has been known for many years, notably after European Union member states agreed on harmonisation of frequencies in 2018.

He declined to comment on the merits of Inmarsat’s suit.

The roll-out of 5G in the Netherlands has lagged behind most European nations due in part to the Dutch government’s own use of the 3.5GHz bandwidth from the Burum site for intelligence communications.

The Hague District Court will hear arguments in the case on May 11.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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