5G News Operators Satellite

Satellite operators split over FCC order on C-band spectrum

While SES and Telesat welcomed the FCC’s decision, ABS claimed it was fatally flawed, adding that it would challenge the order in court.

Satellite operators are split over FCC’s controversial decision last week to reallocate the C-band spectrum.

FCC voted to approve a payment package to incumbent users of the 3.7GHz to 3.98GHz band, offering satellite companies $9.7bn in total to clear 280MHz of spectrum ahead of an auction to 5G carriers.

In a statement, ABS Global Chairman and CEO Jim Frownfelter said: “This order is fatally flawed by its misinterpretations of the Communications Act, and by its numerous arbitrary and capricious conclusions. The Small Satellite Operators (SSOs) are going to be harmed by the unlawful revocation of the right to use 60% of their licensed C-band spectrum, and we will ask the courts to overturn this order and to instruct the FCC to start the entire process again.”

ABS operates a fleet of satellites; ABS-2, ABS-2A, ABS-3A ABS-4/Mobisat-1, ABS-6, and ABS-7.  The satellite fleet covers over 93% of the world’s population across the Americas, Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, CIS and Russia.

However, SES and Telesat, founding members of the C-band Alliance, congratulated FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and the Commission on the adoption of the C-band Report and Order.

In a statement, they said: “This momentous decision is a win-win-win for US leadership in 5G, American taxpayers, and the nearly 120m US households that rely on the C-band for their cable and broadcast programming.”

“SES and Telesat look forward to reviewing the Commission’s order in detail and working with the FCC and all stakeholders to accomplish an efficient and expeditious transition of the C-band while protecting critical satellite services,” they said.

SES operates a multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the combination of global coverage and high performance, including the low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system.