SES joins 5G revolution for US

SES has accepted the merits of an Intelsat/Intel suggestion to the FCC that satellite’s valuable C-band frequencies can be shared with telcos in city areas to help boost 5G coverage. SES will join a consortium with Intelsat which is open to all satellite operators.

The move, if accepted by the FCC, could prove to be extremely valuable for SES and Intelsat. The two dominate the supply of satellite capacity over the US.

An SES spokesman said this market-based solution is a new approach by the industry and offers a truly viable solution, and that it offers it fast: the major benefit of this solution is that it allows expedited allocation of urgently needed spectrum to wireless operators in a timely manner. “At the same time, this approach secures the remaining spectrum and framework for the wide array of established satellite services in C-band.”

A statement from SES says it has aligned with the “innovative” model put forward to the FCC by Intelsat and Intel in October 2017 and which proposed a commercial and technical framework that would enable wireless operators to quickly access approximately 100 MHz of nationwide C-band downlink spectrum in the US, speeding the deployment of next generation 5G services.

“The proposal specifies the creation of a consortium, which would be open to all C-band operators providing service to all or a portion of the lower 48 United States pursuant to FCC-issued licenses or grants of market access. The consortium would oversee the governance of the initiative, define and implement the methodology for spectrum clearance, and serve as the sole interface for market-based transactions with parties interested in deploying terrestrial mobile services in specific portions of the C-band. SES and Intelsat have begun briefing the FCC on this proposal,” said SES.

Karim Michel Sabbagh, President and CEO of SES, said: “The C-band is and remains a critical component of the US network architecture. Space and ground segment operators have invested billions of dollars in US C-band networks and connectivity and generate important value out of it. It is therefore our duty and mission to protect the C-band in the US from any form of disruption and preserve its use. The C-band satellite consortium is to be set up to ensure that the expansion of the C-band ecosystem in the US will protect the interests of hundreds of established services and millions of American end-users, while at the same time paving the way for the creation of next generation 5G terrestrial services.”

Peter Pitsch, Associate General Counsel, Intel, said: “Intel’s goal remains to facilitate timely access to high quality terrestrial 5G services. We welcome the announcement of the alignment of Intelsat and SES on significant details of the proposal, and plan to continue to support this market-based approach, which we believe paves the way for the accelerated deployment of 5G in the US.”

Intelsat CEO Stephen Spengler said: “Our priority continues to be creating a framework that provides certainty and protects the quality and reliability of the services we provide to our media, network services and government customers. Our proposed market-based solution provides a speedy resolution to the US objective of accelerating deployment of 5G services. With Intelsat and SES now in agreement on major tenets of the framework and with the support of Intel, we are confident in our ability to implement this proposal quickly and efficiently, ultimately to the benefit of American consumers and the US economy.”

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