C-Band Alliance offers 200 MHz to FCC

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The drive to see a speedy adoption of 5G technology in the US has seen the C-Band Alliance (CBA) increase the amount of downlink spectrum they could free up.

The CBA’s initial proposal was to make available 100 MHz of C-band spectrum. Now the consortium of Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat and Telesat are offering 200 MHz of bandwidth to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The CBA said that if the FCC adopts the proposal then they will clear the spectrum within 18-36 months of the final FCC order.

“This updated commitment will be reflected in comment filings due October 29 under the FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) proceeding. The proposal increases by 80% the amount of spectrum that could be made available for 5G terrestrial use as compared to the initial proposal made by Intelsat and SES,” said a joint statement from the consortium.

“The repurposing of up to 200 MHz of C-Band spectrum is contingent upon a number of factors which at this stage cannot be guaranteed and their outcome is uncertain, including the following: (i) a final FCC order that accepts the CBA’s market-based proposal; and (ii) a satisfactory market-based process with potential terrestrial 5G users of the repurposed spectrum,” the statement continued.

However, a note to investors from investment bank Goldman Sachs saying it is “cautious” on future share price growth for Intelsat.

The statement might be considered reasonable given that Intelsat’s share price is up a massive 920 per cent this year.

Equity analyst at Goldman’s, Brett Fieldman, says that while there is an upside opportunity and which is helped by the prospects of the FCC agreeing with proposals from the CBA, the bank cautions that investors should also be aware that the upside is “balanced by uncertainty”.

The analyst, in his note, says Intelsat’s C-band proposal is “increasingly likely to win regulatory approval” and recognises that estimates are conservative, but thinks the estimates don’t consider the possibility that Intelsat could fail to monetise more spectrum.

However, equity analysts at Exane/BNP suggests the increased spectrum could be worth an additional €10 a share to SES and €5-€6 per share for Eutelsat.


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