Barely a year ago the family of C-Band Alliance members (Intelsat, SES, Telesat, Eutelsat) were firm and repeatedly stated that they were prepared only to free up (in other words, sell) 180 MHz of their US spectrum for use by 5G players.
Now, across the board, they seem enthusiastic about freeing up 300 MHz of spectrum.
SES CEO Steve Collar, speaking during his Q3 results presentation to analysts on October 25th stated that the CBA was “very focussed” on looking to make available 300 MHz of bandwidth. “We’re entering an important phase for the repurposing of C-Band in favour of 5G in the US. It’s a truly complex endeavour that the CBA is working incredibly hard and with strong results to show for it. The Chairman of the FCC has again reiterated his belief that there’ll be results to show for all of these efforts in the fall.”
“The C-Band Alliance has made really strong progress in the outreach and engagement with all stakeholders, our customers, the potential acquirers of spectrum, the FCC and the Hill. And it really feels to me like we’re getting towards a phase of action. You’ll see plenty of activity I think in the coming weeks to bring all of the various settlements involved to closure, reinforcing the fact that CBA approach is not only the quickest part of lendable spectrum for 5G broad, potential 5G network builders, but also the only way that does so while protecting incumbent users provides benefit to the U.S. treasury, and is fair and balanced for all stakeholders,” he continued.
Collar added: “We are on record of saying we can clear 200 megahertz in 18 to 36 months. The FCC is on record of saying that they want more. And a number of the commissioners have talked about 300 megahertz being the target. We’ve been working very hard, I would say, over the last sort of 4 to 6 weeks intensively with our customers on a plan to get beyond 200 megahertz. Nothing to say on that right now. But as soon as we do have something to say, you will hear about it, and it’s something that we are very, very focused on.”
Collar was reluctant to explain how the proceeds of the C-band auction would be spent. “We’ve also talked about a couple of priorities when it comes to any proceeds from C-Band. I think our first priority will be some modest deleveraging.