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In a stunning growth, SpaceX introduced yesterday that its chief Mr. Elon Musk will hold an announcement with T-Mobile’s president and chief govt officer Mr. Mike Sievert within the night as we speak to announce new plans for connectivity. This announcement got here at a time when SpaceX is defending its satellite tv for pc web service Starlink in a vital battle on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that may decide whether or not Starlink stays possible to supply web connectivity to Americans.

Additionally, it got here inside a month after SpaceX introduced its intention to enter the cellular satellite tv for pc service (MSS) market with Starlink – a extremely unserved space that makes use of decrease frequencies to supply easy protection. The query stays whether or not T-Mobile and SpaceX will companion as much as present cellular companies, and having a look at SpaceX’s newest software and spectrum already licensed to T-Mobile, this simply may be the case.

Are Starlink and T-Mobile Partnering Up To Provide Connectivity Services & Compete With DISH?

SpaceX’s Starlink consumer dishes use the 12Ghz frequency band to download knowledge from the satellites, and the 12Ghz continuing on the FCC is discussing whether or not to open this band up for terrestrial companies. SpaceX asserts that if this had been to occur then its Starlink terminals will face extreme interference from the brand new companies and subsequently lead to extreme degradation of service high quality. DISH and Michael Dell’s RS Access, LLC however consider that technological advances will lead to little interference, as they reverse their earlier claims that terrestrial and satellite tv for pc companies can’t co-exist within the band.

Against this backdrop, SpaceX submitted an software to the FCC earlier this month where it sought the Commission’s permission to make use of the 2GHz band for cellular satellite tv for pc companies (MSS). The fascinating bit about this submitting was that DISH is utilizing the identical band, formally known as AWS-4, to supply Voice over New Radio (VoNR) service which permits customers to make use of smartphones for routing voice calls over a 5G community.

DISH makes use of three separate spectrums for this service, and that is where T-Mobile enters into the fray. For VoNR, DISH makes use of the AWS-4 band (2000-2020 Mhz, 2180-2200 Mhz), the Lower 700 Mhz E Block and AWS-H (1915-1920 Mhz, 1995-2000 MHz) bands.


A listing of frequency spectrum bands that T-Mobile makes use of for its completely different companies. Image: T-Mobile.com

T-Mobile. has entry to the identical spectrum ranges as DISH makes use of for its new service, with the previous’s allocations sitting adjoining as is the rule of thumb to keep away from interference. While DISH makes use of the decrease 700 Mhz E Block (720 – 725MHz), T-Mobile has entry to 728-746 MHz for the uplink portion of its 4G LTE community. Furthermore, right subsequent to DISH’s AWS-H block is T-Mobile’s  1900 Mhz allocation, which makes use of 1850-1910Mhz for uplink and 1930-1990Mhz for downlink.

Looking at these allocations, it is clear that the defining issue for Starlink to supply a service that’s much like DISH’s is the MSS band. Should it companion up with T-Mobile (conjecture on our half), and acquire FCC’s MSS approval,  then it will likely be ready to compete with DISH in a market that the latter simply began to develop and has had its sights set on for increasing into cellular connectivity.

T-Mobile rolled out its VoNR service in restricted areas earlier this 12 months, and similar to DISH’s VoNR service, dubbed Project Genesis, it additionally works with solely a few smartphones, and vendor adoption is essential for brand new telecommunications applied sciences.

SpaceX’s narrative for the MSS software remained obscure concerning the particulars of its plans, and easily said that:

The 20 x 20 MHz of MSS spectrum obtainable within the 2 GHz band will assist a spread of cellular satellite tv for pc companies, enabling SpaceX to craft a compelling array of choices to handle the connectivity wants of Americans. Due to its low altitudes, SpaceX’s 2 GHz MSS system will present service with latency under 50 milliseconds, which is sort of unnoticeable to customers. This system will make sure that all Americans—even these in Polar Regions—get pleasure from the identical low- latency cellular companies. And customers usually are not the one beneficiaries of this improved service. For many Federal customers, satellite tv for pc service is the one communications choice to assist crucial missions. Improving capability and latency for these customers might have important nationwide safety advantages. All of those companies are within the public curiosity.

Relations between T-Mobile and DISH have been thorny as effectively, because the latter has vehemently protested the previous’s determination to close down Sprint’s CDMA community and analysts have additionally estimated that DISH may need to speculate one other $5 billion to develop its 5G community.

Makes us surprise if the vagueness was deliberate and in anticipation of as we speak’s announcement. Yet, solely after Elon Musk takes the stage later as we speak we’ll be capable of know for certain what his firm is cooking. The occasion will happen at 7 P.M. Central Time later as we speak and will likely be broadcast on SpaceX’s YouTube channel.