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Lynk gets commercial satellite-to-phone service license from FCC

The approval for Lynk Tower satellites 1 through 10 came with conditions that limit the startup’s use of radio frequencies to avoid interfering with other operators.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted Lynk the world’s first-ever commercial license for a satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service.

Virginia-based Lynk Global applied for its licence from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in May 2021, and said it has signed nine contracts with mobile network operators.

This FCC license enables Lynk to launch commercial services for its global constellation of satellites later this year, paving the way for universal mobile connectivity.

Commenting on the licence approval, Margo Deckard, COO and Co-founder of Lynk, said: “The FCC is the gold standard of telecommunication regulators. They have deep technical knowledge and conducted a rigorous review process, which validates that Lynk’s first-of-its-kind satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service is ready to be deployed globally. We applaud the FCC and its staff for using their smallsat rules to accelerate innovation in space. We are honoured to receive the very first commercial license for the world’s first true satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service from such a credible and respected regulator.”

Lynk launched Lynk Tower 1, the first satellite covered by the FCC license, on April 1. Lynk is scheduled to launch three more satellites — also known as Lynk Towers 2, 3 and 4 and Lynk’s 7th, 8th, and 9th cell-towers-in-space — later this year as the company advances toward deploying its global service. Lynk has signed contracts with 15 mobile network operators (MNOs) in 36 countries representing over 240M mobile subscribers, and is actively testing in 10 countries.

This FCC license will also allow Lynk to provide emergency communication services to help people recover from disasters and will save lives.

Steve Case, Chairman of Revolution (Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund is an investor in Lynk) and Co-Founder of America Online (AOL) stated: “Having co-founded America Online, I understand and support Lynk’s mission to connect everyone on Earth via its satellite-direct-to-cell-phone service. With the FCC approval of the world’s first commercial satellite-direct-to-phone license, Lynk is one major step closer to achieving its goals. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund is proud to back a business that recognises the value in connecting the 8bn people on this planet—from both a business and global safety perspective.”

Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA, commented: “Technologies such as Lynk’s satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service are an important part of the evolving mobile ecosystem and will be essential in enabling coverage in underserved geographies. Working in close collaboration with mobile network operators, Lynk’s satellite services will support the goal of ubiquitous connectivity for the benefit of society and business worldwide.”

Bat-Erdene.G, CTO of Unitel Group, added: “Mongolia’s telecommunication sector faces a unique challenge as the country is one of the most sparsely populated in the world. From mountain ranges to steppe prairies, from the Gobi Desert to northern taigas, thousands of nomads live in the Mongolian countryside, and they all require constant and reliable connectivity to the world. Thus far, we have increased our mobile and 4G LTE network coverage to over 80% of the population, which makes Unitel Group the leading telecommunications service provider in Mongolia. The FCC approval of Lynk’s commercial system marks an important step to enable Unitel Group to expand our efforts in providing the best connectivity to our customers no matter where they are in Mongolia.”