Lynk Global wins FCC licence for mobile phones from satellites
The US regulator has awarded a commercial licence to Lynk Global, which is planning to operate a wholesale satellite-delivered service to mobile phones on behalf of operators.
Virginia-based Lynk Global applied for its licence from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in May 2021, and says it has signed nine contracts with mobile network operators.
Margo Deckard (pictured), COO and co-founder of Lynk, said: “We applaud the FCC and its staff for using their small sat rules to accelerate innovation in space. We are honoured to receive the very first commercial licence for the world’s first true satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile phone service from such a credible and respected regulator.”
The FCC licence will enable the company to begin commercial services for its global network of satellites later this year, said the company.
In February Lynk said it had connected smartphones, tablets and IoT devices in the Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US.
Two weeks ago BICS and Lynk Global said they have signed an agreement to enable mobile operators to expand mobile coverage to people in remote areas around the world. Coverage areas will include North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, south-east Asia and several rural areas in Africa, they said.
Deckard said: “The FCC is the gold standard of telecommunication regulators. They have deep technical knowledge and conducted a rigorous review process, which validates that Lynk’s first-of-its-kind satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile phone service is ready to be deployed globally.”
Lynk launched Lynk Tower 1, the first satellite covered by the FCC licence, on 1 April. Lynk is scheduled to launch three more satellites – also known as Lynk Towers 2, 3 and 4 – later this year as the company advances toward deploying its global service.
Lynk said it has signed contracts with 15 mobile network operators in 36 countries, and is actively testing in 10 countries.
Lynk is backed by investment group Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund. Its chairman, Steve Case, who was co-founder of America Online (AOL), said: “With the FCC approval of the world’s first commercial satellite-direct-to phone licence, Lynk is one major step closer to achieving its goals. Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund is proud to back a business that recognizes the value in connecting the 8 billion people on this planet – from both a business and global safety perspective.”
Alex Sinclair, CTO of the GSMA, said: “Technologies such as Lynk’s satellite-direct-to-standard-mobile-phone service are an important part of the evolving mobile ecosystem and will be essential in enabling coverage in underserved geographies. Working in close collaboration with mobile network operators, Lynk’s satellite services will support the goal of ubiquitous connectivity for the benefit of society and business worldwide.”