Satellite Communications

There is no room for a learning curve when it comes to the legal, transactional, and regulatory matters for your satellite communications business. With Mintz Levin on your side of the table, you know you have counsel with the specialized experience and practice depth to handle all your matters — domestically and internationally.

Mintz Levin has secured satellite licenses for networks in almost every country in the world for corporate and government users as well as satellite operators. We regularly work with local regulators in and outside the United States to implement favorable telecom policies and regulations in order to benefit client operations and access. We have significant experience with government Host Nation Authorizations (HNAs) and frequency clearances from countries around the world for military and government users.

We have helped our clients take advantage of business opportunities as well as negotiate numerous regulations and trade and market access issues throughout the world. Our clients include the world’s largest satellite operators, major braodcast networks, government contractors, and US government agencies. We have represented clients in negotiations with major satellite operators and service providers, spacecraft manufacturers, and launch service providers. We have also represented borrowers and lenders in satellite financing transactions.

Quick Facts

  • Full-service international Satellite Communications Practice
  • Represent clients before the following:
    • FCC & FCC equivalents around the world
    • International Telecommunication Union (ITU) proceedings and the ITU Radio Regulations Board (RRB)
    • US Departments of State & Commerce and the US Trade Representative

  • Represent clients in major spacecraft procurement and other complex transactions

Areas of Focus

  • Satellite market access issues, landing rights, and foreign licensing for government and commercial entities
  • Host Nation Authorizations (HNAs) for US government users satellite ground and UAS/aeronautical networks
  • Orbital slot identification and related space licensing
  • Global and national spectrum allocations and assignments
  • ITU satellite arbitration proceedings
  • Negotiation of satellite-related joint ventures
  • Spacecraft transactions
  • Satellite facilities and services transactions
  • Launch arrangements and insurance transactions
  • High-tech equipment and software transactions

Rankings & Recognitions

  • U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers
    • Practice ranked National Tier 1 for Communications Law
  • Chambers USA:
    • Practice ranked in DC for Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite: Regulatory

Satellite Operators

  • Negotiated complex agreements for sharing of orbit / spectrum resources and satellite assets.
  • Negotiated landing rights and market access for satellite operators in countries around the world.
  • Secured orbital slot assignments for satellite start-ups.
  • Negotiated changes to local satellite regulations in countries around the world in order to allow new satellite services and access to previously closed markets.
  • Successfully defended spectrum-related issues that were not addressed by ITU regulations for a satellite start-up at ITU
  • Negotiated “condo-sat” agreements
  • Negotiated the purchase of a significant portion of a new communications satellite slated for future launch, along with security interests in another satellite owned by the same company.
  • Represented satellite operators in connection with its bids in a US bankruptcy auction for communications satellites.
  • Regularly perform due diligence for satellite purchases and investments

US Military

  • Negotiated Host Nation Authorizations (HNAs) with governments in key countries in every region of the world to allow US military agencies to lawfully use their satellite networks, equipment, UAS and frequencies outside of the United States.

Major FCC proceedings include the following:

  • Streamline earth station antenna regulation.
  • Reduce satellite orbital spacing.
  • Permit satellite transponder leasing and resale.
  • Adopt rules for and license satellites in the Fixed Satellite Service (FSS), Direct Broadcast Satellite Service (DBS), Mobile Satellite Service (MSS), and Radiodetermination Satellite Service (RDSS).
  • Authorize new satellite-based communications services involving non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems and earth stations onboard vessels (ESVs).

Clients We Serve

  • Satellite operators
  • Government contractors, US government agencies and the US military
  • Major networks
  • Telecommunications companies
  • Borrowers and lenders