Echostar pushes alternative approach to high-band spectrum sharing

Echostar, Hughes Network Systems and Alta Wireless representatives met with FCC officials last week to present their alternative approach to spectrum sharing for the three gigahertz of spectrum between 37 and 40 GHz.

Under the Echostar proposal, mobile services would be designated as primary in two-thirds of the band (37-39 GHz) while in the remaining one-third (39-40 GHz), mobile services would be designated as primary and fixed satellite service (FSS) gateway earth stations would be co-primary in all areas outside the urban cores of the largest 30 or so U.S. cities.

Under such a regime, they say, the entire band could be auctioned for flexible terrestrial use. Those parties that did not want to share with satellite services could bid for the lower portion of the band while those that bid in the upper portion of the band could take the potential presence of satellite earth stations into account in devising their bidding strategies, explained Jennifer Manner, VP or regulatory affairs for Echostar, in an FCC filing.

The proposal is not new but highlights the continued conflict between satellite and mobile operators. Echostar, Hughes and Alta previously told the commission that some of the proposals in the Spectrum Frontiers proceeding would undermine years of effort and billions of dollars of investment by satellite operators in developing the frequency bands above 24 GHz. Echostar argues that the sharing proposals it has made for the spectrum would result in a "win-win" for consumers.

Echostar, which is the largest U.S. commercial FSS geostationary satellite operator, agrees with other stakeholders that the commission should combine the 37 and 39 GHz bands to create a single band from 37-40 GHz. That would leave three gigahertz of contiguous spectrum that could be used for both 5G and FSS interests with the adoption of a regime that matches the operational and geographic characteristics of the various services to optimize the use of the spectrum.

Echostar says it is already designing its next generation of satellites, which likely will include the use of the 38 GHz band. As for the 28 GHz band, it says its proposal there would not affect the deployment of 5G services outside of a few very small non-urban areas.

During a meeting they hosted with FCC officials last week at Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) Basking Ridge, N.J., offices, Verizon representatives noted that they would be working with satellite providers to try to find common ground on potential interference issues between future mobile terrestrial operations and existing satellite earth stations in the 28 GHz band.

For more:
- see this Echostar filing

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