Ergen breathes sigh of relief over S-band

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Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar team managed to avoid a humiliating forced ending of its plans for a global S-band service when a tiny satellite successfully “brought into use” a set of International Telecom Union (ITU) frequencies ahead of an August 10th ITU deadline.

This was the ‘third time lucky’ for EchoStar given that two previous attempts to launch satellites into the S-band slot had failed on or soon after launch.

EchoStar, because of the nano-satellite, can now expand its S-band plans for voice and data services.

EchoStar in its financial results stated: “The nano-satellite was successfully commissioned and placed at the altitude prescribed in our license for the S-band frequency.”

The relief must be tangible given that the ITU had already extended its previous April deadline to ‘bring into use’ services from the S-band orbital slot.

EchoStar’s Satellite Services president Anders Johnson is on record as having high-hopes for S-band activity and said that a successful launch of the nano-satellite would give EchoStar the “raw materials” needed for the development of a global service.

Back in 2013, EchoStar bought the Ireland-based Solaris Mobile business, initially owned by SES and Eutelsat, which was the springboard to today’s S-band activity. EchoStar now has worldwide S-band spectrum rights for use by Low Earth Orbiting satellites.


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