INTELSAT
reacted by claiming that Tongasat’s actions amounted to financial speculation
in the GSO, in violation of the ITU Regulations.i
Columbia Communications filed a petition with the Federal Communications
Commission requesting that applications for landing rightsii
to any company using Tonga’s slots be denied.iii
Columbia claimed that Tonga was violating a fundamental principle of orbital
resource allocation, in the sense that no entity or nation may lay claim to the
orbit/spectrum resource as a commodity that can be warehoused or traded. What
is interesting to observe is that Tonga never denied its plans to lease or sell
its slots in the future, arguing that once the ITU accepted its request, the
issue was closed, and that it is Colombia that is acting in an anticompetitive
manner.iv
Consequently, Columbia insisted that the issue be raised at the 1995 World
Radio Conferencev,
however, the only result that the ITU reached was to approve a plan whereby the
ITU staff reviewed the procedures and report on slot allocations by 1997. In
March 1996 Tonga made public its intentions to lease its remaining slots.vi

iIbid.,
p. 281.

ii Landing rights are
permissions that operators must obtain for their satellite to be used in a
particular State. See Landing Rights Resurfacing in Europe, Satellite Today,
November 1, 2006, .

iiiColumbia Asks FCC to Deny
U.S. Markets to Users of Tonga’s Orbital Slots, Aug. 30, 1993,
1993 WL 2612482.

ivSATELLITE
WK., Nov. 1,
1993, 1993 WL 2610094.

v World Radiocommunication
Conferences (WRC) are held every three to four years. During these conferences,
the ITU Member States review, and, if necessary, revise the Radio Regulations,
the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and
the geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits. These
revisions are made on the basis of an ITU Council determined agenda, which
takes into account recommendations made by previous WRCs. See
Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) .

viSATELLITE
WK., Mar.
18, 1996, 1996 WL 7054518.