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Tribunal awards Mobile TV co Devas Multimedia $672 million in damages; ISRO to appeal


Devas Multimedia, a Deutsche Telekom backed Mobile TV company, set up in partnership with ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix, has been awarded $672 million in damages by an International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration. The court found Antrix liable for unlawfully terminating the Devas-Antrix Agreement in February 2011. Devas had planned to launch S-DMB (satellite and terrestrial) Mobile TV services in India. A statement from Devas:

“Devas Multimedia and its shareholders, including highly regarded international investors, are pleased that the ICC Tribunal unanimously ruled in its favor and found that Antrix is liable for unlawfully terminating the Devas-Antrix Agreement in February 2011. The ICC Tribunal also awarded damages and pre-award interest totaling USD $672 million to Devas with post-award interest accruing at 18% per annum on that sum until the award is fully paid.”

“Devas is hopeful that Antrix will now live up to its legal obligations and pay the award so that this dispute that arose during the prior government can be brought to a swift close.”

The Pioneer reports that Antrix has said they would move the court for remedy and appeal this order, which finds that Antrix had no legal justification for terminating the agreement and the Secretary, Department of Space and Chairman of ISRO, Antrix and the Space Commission, could have prevented the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) from approving the annulment. “National Security” had been given as the reason for the termination of the agreement.

Notes from the agreement (from our 2011 report)

– Devas planned to offer Mobile TV service: Devas planned to offer S-DMB service – a satellite and terrestrial broadcasting (mobile TV) service. The agreement allowed audio and video content and information and interactive services, across India that will be delivered to fixed, portable, and mobile receivers including mobile phones, mobile video/audio receivers for vehicles etc.

– Payment Terms: According to the contract, Devas would have to pay an upfront capacity reservation fees of $20 million(Rs 90.7 crore) in 3 equal installments; $9 million(Rs 40.85 crore) per annum as the lease for each satellite. The lease will increase to $11.25 million(Rs 51.06 crore) per annum when Devas became cash-flow positive..

– S-Band spectrum: According to the agreement, Antrix decided lease to Devas, part of a space segment capacity on Primary Satellite 1(PS1) and an option to gain additional capacity on (to be manufactured) Primary Satellite 2 (PS2) in the S-Band

– Transponders: Antrix had planned to lease to Devas 5 CXS transponders each of 8.1 MHz capacity and 5 SXC transponders, each of 2.7 MHz capacity on PS1. The capacity was leased for a period of 12 years,and was to be up for renewal at least 2 years before the end of the 12 year period or the anticipated life of the satellite. The renewal would be for another 12 years, at lease fees to be mutually agreed upon.

– Antrix Responsible For Regulatory Approvals: According to the document, Antrix was responsible for obtaining all necessary Governmental and Regulatory Approvals relating to orbital slot and frequency clearances, and funding for the satellite to facilitate Devas services. The cost of obtaining such approvals was to have been borne by Devas. Antrix would also have been responsible for obtaining necessary frequency or regulatory approvals relating to lease of capacity for the extended period.

– Antrix and Devas were to collaborate to build, launch and operate satellite(s) and Devas Services.

Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

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