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New SES satellites will enable 5G operators to reuse broadcast spectrum

SES launch.jpg

SES has launched two new satellites for new spectrum for broadcast services in the US, to help 5G operators expand their own services.

The Luxembourg-based satellite operator said the launches are part of a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) programme to clear a portion of the C-band spectrum to enable US operators to deploy 5G services.

The FCC told satellite operators such as SES to move their existing services from the lower 300MHz of the C-band to the upper 200MHz to make room for 5G.

“The successful launch of SES-20 and SES-21 will allow us to support our customers in delivering high-quality sports and entertainment to tens of millions of US households while delivering on our promise to repurpose spectrum to enable U.S. leadership in 5G,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES.

SES-20 and SES-21 were launched yesterday, 4 October, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. They will join SES-22 (pictured), which was launched at the end of June.

SES said the FCC had set it a deadline of December 2023 to clear the lower part of the C-band spectrum of TV and radio services, to make way for 5G.

The new satellites are expected to begin operations in November 2022, said SES, with SES-20 at 103°W and SES-21 at 131°W. They – as well as SES-18, SES-19 and SES-22 – will ensure coverage continues on the new spectrum without a break.