Verizon taps SES C-band spectrum for 5G deployments

Verizon taps SES C-band spectrum for 5G deployments

Steve Collar SES CEO.jpg

SES will earn an additional $170 million from Verizon for its accelerated clearing of C-band spectrum in the US.

The two have entered into an agreement that will see Verizon access a portion of the C-band – 3700-3800 MHz – to deploy 5G for what SES described as "important regions across the US". And it will do so ahead of the relocation deadlines issued by US regulator, the FCC.

“Providing 5G services to as many Americans as soon as possible supports the US economy and enables the delivery of valuable services to the population. We will leverage the experience we have gained over the past year and shorten the clearing timeline for Verizon’s spectrum,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES.

This new agreement will see SES expand Verizon’s access to the 3700-3800 MHz block in certain markets beyond the 46 Partial Economic Areas cleared in Phase I and earlier than the Phase II accelerated relocation deadline. SES will install filters and other ancillary equipment at about 500 sites in 2022, comparable to the activities executed during Phase I, and will earn up to an additional $170 million from Verizon, subject to delivering the clearing on a timeline agreed to by the parties.

On the finances, SES said it will "incur additional costs to perform this clearing". The previously communicated estimate of $80 million of non-reimbursable costs across the entire C-band clearing project is now being increased to $100 million to "reflect the magnitude of the agreement with Verizon". SES said it will earn an additional $170 million from Verizon through the accelerated clearing.

SES completed its Phase I accelerated C-band clearing ahead of the first FCC deadline of 5 December 2021, and as a result earned almost $1 billion in accelerated relocation payments.

Collar said at the time: “Over the past two years we have worked tirelessly to quickly clear spectrum while also carefully transitioning our customers’ services, and we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. This was a tremendous undertaking, and our success reinforces our confidence in our ability to meet the FCC’s Phase II deadline in 2023."

To do this, SES said it is working to relocate its existing services from the 3700-4000 MHz band and complete equipment changes for Incumbent Earth Stations across the entire contiguous United States, earning an additional $3 billion in accelerated relocation payments in the process.