Satellite firm Iridium is launching a mobile hotspot called Go that creates a satellite-backed Wi-Fi zone and can work anywhere around the globe. Iridium's announcement comes hot on the heels of a similar one last week from rival Globalstar, which unveiled Sat-Fi, a new voice and data service that enables customers to connect their Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and laptops to Globalstar's satellite network when they are outside of cellular coverage.
Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton said the company is still looking for a wireless carrier to partner with to build out its planned LTE Advanced network, but he seemed to rule out Sprint Nextel as a partner.
LightSquared's latest proposal before the FCC to salvage its dreams for a wholesale LTE network has drawn a range of comments, many falling into predictable camps of opposition and support. However, it is unclear if or when the FCC will act on the plan.
The FCC said Dish Network must cover at least 40 percent of the population in areas covered by its spectrum with a wireless network in the next four years, or face penalties. Further, the FCC said Dish must cover at least 70 percent of that population within seven years. Dish has said it plans to build an LTE Advanced network with its spectrum.
The FCC voted unanimously to approve Dish Network's plans to use its MSS S-band spectrum for terrestrial use, an action Dish has been pushing for during the past year. Dish has said it plans to build out an LTE Advanced network by 2016. However, reports indicate that Dish will be required to use a portion of its spectrum at a lower power level than it had originally wanted, a position Sprint Nextel had pushed for.
Sprint Nextel blasted Dish Network's latest proposal to set aside 5 MHz of the lower portion of its spectrum as a "guard band" to protect the PCS H Block. Sprint said in a recent FCC filing that Dish's proposal would actually lead to an increased risk of interference in the H Block, which Sprint has indicated it wants to bid on next year to use for LTE.
Dish Network would be willing to accept changes to its spectrum holdings that would effectively make 5 MHz of its radio waves a guardband to protect spectrum that Sprint Nextel has indicated it wants to bid on next year to use for LTE. However, Dish said that such a change would be acceptable as long as it was allowed to move ahead with the terrestrial deployment of the rest of its satellite spectrum as soon as possible.
The FCC and Dish Network continued to spar over proposed rules governing Dish's wireless spectrum, with the FCC saying that Dish's plan would imperil the 1900 MHz PCS H Block, which Sprint Nextel has said it wants to bid on and use for its LTE network.
The FCC is seeking comment on LightSquared's latest proposal to salvage its MSS L-band spectrum holdings and deploy an LTE network. LightSquared wants to share spectrum that is currently set aside for weather balloons used by the federal government. In exchange, LightSquared said it would permanently relinquish its 10 MHz of spectrum that is directly adjacent to the frequencies used by GPS receivers.
The FCC is close to finalizing rules for the satellite spectrum Dish Network owns, and is likely going to allow Dish to deploy terrestrial-only service, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. However, the report said the FCC's rules will also include interference protections for the PCS H Block, a move Dish has argued could threaten the viability of a portion of its spectrum.