September 2nd saw Intelsat say that, with Intel, it had applied to the FCC for some key changes in use of its C-band frequencies. Intelsat says that it could release certain regional C-band frequencies in order to help spur 5G usage. Intelsat would auction access to these frequencies.
SES of Luxembourg says – in effect – ‘not so fast’. SES could be a significant financial beneficiary of any changes to its C-band frequency rights.
“All plans to change the use of C-band have far reaching consequences on hundreds of established services and millions of end users in the US,” said a formal statement from SES.
“We have invested billions of dollars into C-band space capacity over decades, and our customers have invested hundreds of millions in ground infrastructure and earth stations on top. Even if we are open to use parts of the spectrum differently, any plan to change this highly efficient ecosystem and let terrestrial wireless systems enter risks to cause massive disruptions and substantial cost and therefore needs the most careful analysis.”
Intelsat yesterday added to its detail, saying: “If the proposal is adopted, wireless operators would be able to access new ‘mid-band’ spectrum that would help accelerate the introduction of 5G services, benefiting American consumers. Satellite users would continue to operate in the band with certainty of continued high quality for C-band video distribution and data networks.”
Intelsat/Intel’s proposal would see satellite operators “work cooperatively” with cellular operators to identify those regions where C-band spectrum could be best utilised.