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EchoStar Files Breach of Contract Suit Against Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu

LITTLETON, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 12, 1999--EchoStar Communications Corporation confirmed press reports that it filed a lawsuit in Denver, Colo. for breach of contract against Bell Satellite Services, Inc. and Bell ExpressVu (Bell ExpressVu is a division of Bell Satellite).

    In December 1998, Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu announced a $47 million equity investment in SkyView Media Group, the parent company to Ethnic-American Broadcasting Company (EABC), both based in Fort Lee, New Jersey. However, as part of a 1997 agreement in which EchoStar (through certain affiliated companies) agreed to provide information, technology and digital set top boxes for the launch and operation of a direct-to-home satellite company in Canada, Bell ExpressVu committed to not make any equity investment directly or indirectly in any provider of direct-to-home satellite services in the United States. EchoStar maintains that the investment by Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu in Sky Media is a violation of this agreement because Sky Media and its subsidiary, EABC, are direct competitors to EchoStar's international and foreign language programming services.

    "We are disappointed that Bell Satellite and Bell ExpressVu ignored our business relationship and their contractual commitments, and we intend to fully protect our legal and contractual rights," said EchoStar CEO and Chairman Charlie Ergen.

    EchoStar Communications Corp., includes three interrelated business units:

- DISH Network™ is EchoStar's state-of-the-art DBS system that
    offers customers over 300 channels of digital video and
    CD-quality audio programming, fully MPEG-2/DVB compliant hardware
    and installation. - EchoStar Technologies Corporation (ETC, formerly HTS™ -
    Houston Tracker Systems, Inc.), designs, manufactures and
    distributes DBS set-top boxes, antennas and other digital
    equipment for DISH Network and various international customers
    that include ExpressVu Canada and Telefonica's Via Digital system
    in Spain. ETC also provides uplink-center design, construction
    oversight and project-integration services for customers
    internationally. - Satellite Services provides the delivery of video, audio and data
    services to business television customers and other satellite
    users. These services include satellite uplink, satellite
    transponder space-usage and other services. Satellite Services
    also administers SKY VISTA, a direct broadcast satellite service
    offering up to 27 channels of popular digital satellite
    television programming to viewers in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico
    and the U.S. territories in the Caribbean.

    DISH Network currently serves over 2 million customers. DISH Network is a trademark of EchoStar Communications Corporation. HTS is a trademark of Houston Tracker Systems, Inc. DISH Network is located on the Internet at: www.dishnetwork.com


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CONTACT: EchoStar Communications Corp., Littleton Judianne Atencio, Communications Director, 303/723-2010 e-mail: judianne.atencio@echostar.com

KEYWORD: COLORADO INDUSTRY KEYWORD: TELECOMMUNICATIONS ENTERTAINMENT



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