Globalstar urges FCC to let it use satellite spectrum for LTE, TLPS networks

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Globalstar, a small satellite firm, wants the FCC to allow it to use its MSS spectrum for mobile broadband. Globalstar is the latest in a string of satellite companies looking to take advantage of the FCC's push to expand the amount and use of wireless spectrum.

Globalstar is licensed to provide mobile satellite service in the Big LEO band at 1610-1618.725 MHz (the "Lower Big LEO band" for uplink operations) and 2483.5-2500 MHz (the "Upper Big LEO band" for downlink operations). The company plans to partner with unnamed "terrestrial partners," or wireless carriers, to launch LTE service on its spectrum.

In its filing with the FCC, Globalstar said it is proposing "both a long-term plan to utilize its full Big LEO spectrum" for an FDD-LTE network, as well as "a completely separate near-term plan to utilize only the Upper Big LEO band at 2483.5-2495 MHz for an innovative terrestrial low-power service ("TLPS") offering. In the long run, by deploying an optimal mix of LTE and TLPS facilities in the Big LEO band, Globalstar will achieve a full and intensive terrestrial utilization of its spectrum."

Globalstar CEO Jay Monroe told the Wall Street Journal that the company has had preliminary discussions with the FCC and is confident in its plan. "Based on the response, we felt it was time to move forward with a filing," he said.

Cognizant of the troubles that befell LightSquared when it tried to use its MSS L-band spectrum for LTE, Globalstar said in its filing that it "is not proposing any terrestrial use of its spectrum that would compromise the accuracy or dependability of Global Positioning System ("GPS") services," and that the FCC "should address any concerns regarding the coexistence of GPS and commercial wireless operations within the Lower Big LEO band." The FCC effectively blocked LightSquared's plans because of concerns that LightSquared's proposed network would interfere with GPS receivers.

The filing by Globalstar comes as the FCC is finalizing rules for the terrestrial use of MSS spectrum. Dish Network has been waiting on those rules before it moves ahead with own plans to deploy an LTE Advanced network using its 40 MHz of S-band spectrum.

However, Globalstar is a much smaller company than Dish. According to the Journal, the firm had $72.8 million in 2011 revenue and a market valuation of $97 million. Dish's current market cap is around $15 billion.

For more:
- see this FCC filing (PDF)
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this SatNews article

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