Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 011

Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 011

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 TODAYS NEWS: Tuesday 18th November 1997.


Spectrum Battle Involving Teledesic Emerges Between U.S., Europe
ExpressVu Targets Gray Market; Canada's "Legit" Subs At 32,000
EchoStar Third Quarter Revenues, Net Losses Jump
TCI Loses 47,000 Subscribers In Fall Quarter
News Corp.'s Star TV Faces Obscenity Charges In India

Spectrum Battle Involving Teledesic Emerges Between U.S., Europe

U.S. and European officials, engaged in negotiations over global use of
spectrum, accused each other of trying to thwart competition among
multi-billion-dollar satellite systems. 

And caught in the middle is Teledesic, the $9 billion project between
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, cell phone pioneer Craig McCaw and

U.S. Ambassador John Bryant publicly accused European delegates at
International Telecommunication Union talks in Geneva of trying to
"undermine" Teledesic. Francois Rancy, deputy head of France's
delegation, said negotiators from 40 European countries were trying to
break Teledesic's perceived "de facto monopoly" on broadband

Europeans charged that Teledesic was given an unfair advantage under a
decision at the 1995 talks, allowing technical specifications that only 
fit the developing service. 

All sides said they want the joint Loral/Alcatel Skybridge project and
Motorola's Celestri to get bands and compete against Teledesic. The
three plan to launch several hundred satellites in 2001 and 2002 that 
will offer high-speed, multimedia services. 

"We want to take steps necessary for all three companies to go forward.
Each time we get close, the Europeans say they don't want to," Bryant, a
former Texas Congressman, said. "My view is that the whole conference
supports all three systems going forward. But the Europeans refuse -
they want to undermine Teledesic." 

Bryant heads a 90-strong U.S. delegation that includes Teledesic

Rancy said Europe wants to promote competition. "Our point from the
beginning has been that if the conference leaves things as they are, it 
is a worldwide monopoly for Bill Gates for provision of this type of
by satellite," he said. 

"Our proposal was to put power limits in all bands. The compromise the
conference wants is to put power limits anywhere else that are not
Teledesic bands. The text of the compromise decision is almost 
finalized. The U.S. still doesn't accept it." 

The World Radiocommunication Conference 1997 will set international
rules for the use of communications frequencies. Close to 2,000
government and industry officials, from 134 of the 188 member states of
the International Telecommunication Union, are taking part in the talks,
which run through Nov. 21. 

ExpressVu Targets Gray Market; Canada's "Legit" Subs Number 32,000

Canada's ExpressVu is taking aim at an estimated 300,000 Canadian
dish owners who receive U.S. gray market satellite offerings to its
legitimate DTH service by offering rebates on equipment purchases. 

The service said it will offer credit on programming equal to the 
price before taxes of set-top boxes and dishes. The offer is open to all
DirectTV, EchoStar and PrimeStar viewers in Canada. 

Meanwhile, a picture of Canada's legitimate small dish market has
emerged after two services started operations. ExpsessVu reported
10,000 subscribers as of Sept. 30, four weeks after its launch. The
company's main competition, Star Choice Communications, reported
23,000 satellite subscribers as of Oct 31. 

EchoStar Third Quarter Revenues, Net Losses Jump

EchoStar Communications reported that third quarter revenues totaled
$124.8 million, compared to total revenue of $30.4 million during the
same 1996 period. 

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, EchoStar reported total revenue of
$281.9 million, a 150-percent increase compared to $112.6 million for
the same nine-month period in 1996. Revenues from EchoStar's DISH
Network business totaled $95.8 million during the three months ended
Sept. 30, an increase of $79.7 million compared to the same period in

As expected, EchoStar's net loss increased to $115.2 million during the
quarter, compared to $26.5 million reported for the comparable period
in 1996. EchoStar said the increases in net losses were due to marketing
expenses as well as from increases in non-cash depreciation,
amortization and net interest expenses. 

A decrease in cash flow, from $15.6 million in third quarter 1996 to
$41.6 million in third quarter 1997, resulted from a marketing promotion
introduced in June which eliminated the requirement for a prepaid annual
subscription. "This marketing promotion negatively impacts EBITDA at
the time of subscriber activation as EchoStar's net subscriber 
acquisition costs are immediately expensed," the company said in a


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    All contents (C) 1997 Neil Anthony Powell UK SATELLITE CONTROL
     Some material (c) 1997 Dominic Sedghi, www.sat-net.com/sat-uk
             and Skyreport (c) 1997 All Rights Reserved. 
       The above may not be reproduced without written consent.
       Information is subject to change and/or may be incorrect.

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