SES to accelerate US C-band availability
March 21, 2022
By Chris Forrester
SES used the opening day of the Satellite 2022 show to announce that it has signed a contract with Verizon in the US to expand the giant cellular operator’s access to converted C-band frequencies for 5G use ahead of the FCC’s deadline. The deal means an extra $170 million (€153.7m) in revenues although there are also higher costs for SES.
This new agreement will see SES expand Verizon’s access to the 3700-3800 MHz block in certain markets beyond the 46 Partial Economic Areas cleared in Phase I and earlier than the Phase II accelerated relocation deadline. SES will install filters and other ancillary equipment at about 500 sites in 2022, comparable to the activities executed during Phase I, and will earn up to an additional $170 million from Verizon, subject to delivering the clearing on a timeline agreed to by the parties.
SES has already completed its Phase I accelerated C-band clearing ahead the first FCC deadline of December 5th 2021, a critical step in meeting the Commission’s objectives to roll out 5G services across the US rapidly, and as a result, earned almost $1 billion in accelerated relocation payments. To meet the Phase II deadline of December 5th 2023, SES is working to relocate its existing services from the 3700-4000 MHz band and complete equipment changes for Incumbent Earth Stations across the entire contiguous US, earning an additional $3 billion in accelerated relocation payments in the process.
“Providing 5G services to as many Americans as soon as possible supports the US economy and enables the delivery of valuable services to the population. We will leverage the experience we have gained over the past year and shorten the clearing timeline for Verizon’s spectrum,” said Steve Collar, CEO.
SES will incur additional costs to perform this clearing. The previously communicated estimate of $80 million of non-reimbursable costs across the entire C-band clearing project is now being increased to $100 million to reflect the magnitude of the agreement with Verizon.