Global fleet operator Intelsat has joined GSMA, a mobile network operators' association that has sparred with the satellite industry over spectrum.
The two largest members of the C-Band Alliance would each need four new satellites in order to continue providing telecom services in the U.S. if the Federal Communications Commission accepts its C-band plan, the group said Dec. 19.
The telecommunications company COMSAT, which supplies services to the U.S. government, has signed a deal with Intelsat to market FlexAir to U.S. government aviation users and coalition partners.
Members of the C-Band Alliance have stipulated that they will only buy U.S.-built satellites to replace any capacity lost through the transfer of some C-band spectrum to cellular operators for 5G, a move that could position their plan more favorably with the White House and Congress.
Members of the C-Band Alliance on Oct. 22 increased the amount of spectrum they are willing to part with in the United States, aligning their plan more closely with that of the Federal Communications Commission as a deadline for input looms.
Three regional satellite operators with C-band coverage over the United States have complained to U.S. telecom regulators about being left out of a group led by four of the world’s largest satellite operators to arrange a proposed spectrum transfer to the wireless industry.
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Intelsat invested in Africa Mobile Networks (AMN), a U.K.-headquartered group of companies with telecom infrastructure in Africa, to reach "ultra-rural" parts of the sub-Saharan side of the continent.
Intelsat says some satellite operators will be forced to buy new spacecraft if U.S. telecom regulators demand the transfer of 200 or more megahertz of C-band spectrum from satellite operators to cellular companies.
European launch provider Arianespace completed the 100th launch of a heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket Sept. 25, carrying two satellites co-owned between Intelsat and partner satellite operators.
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Intelsat-901, a 17-year-old communications satellite running low on propellant, is awaiting a first-of-its-kind service call from a robotic spacecraft carrying a fresh tank of fuel.
Satellite operators in Asia say the debate over C-band in the United States is triggering similar discussions in their markets, causing concern that cellular operators could end up in control of the spectrum in other parts of the world.