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May 15, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:44pm

EUROPEAN COMMISSION MAY TURN INMARSAT INTO PRIVATE COMPANY

By CBR Staff Writer

The European Commission says it will review a proposal to transform the London-based international satellite communications organization Inmarsat into a commercial company. It said Inmarsat, which is currently a cooperative of telecommunication companies in about 80 countries, submitted a draft agreement for clearance for the group to become a company. It will have to establish that it does not break European Union rules which ban restrictive practices and abuse of dominant positions. Inmarsat provides communications for ships, aircraft, trucks and trains. It is also sponsoring, together with a number of European telecoms operators, global personal mobile communications systems in Inmarsat-P. The organization is the sole provider of satellite services which support the International Maritime Organization’s global maritime distress and safety system – GMDSS. It said the new company would conduct all Inmarsat’s future and existing business. A residual intergovernmental organization would remain to oversee and enforce the company’s GMDSS services and its other public service obligations. The relationship between Inmarsat and its partners, who are currently represented in the organization’s council, would also become more arm’s length and contractual, the Commission said.

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