GSMA spectrum auction expert takes off for SpaceX

GSMA spectrum auction expert takes off for SpaceX

14 January 2021 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Elon Musk’s satellite company SpaceX has recruited the GSMA’s head of spectrum, Brett Tarnutzer, as a director.

He will be moving from London, where the industry organisation is based, to Washington DC, to take up the new role.

“I am excited for a new challenge and a move back to Washington DC, but I will take a bit of London and the GSMA with me,” Tarnutzer (pictured) wrote on LinkedIn.

He hasn’t given full details of his role at the company, which is providing launch services and has an emerging low-orbit satellite internet company, Starlink.

Starlink now has a licence from UK regulator Ofcom to provide satellite internet services.

But Tarnutzer has spent much of his career in the spectrum sector, not only at the GSMA but also at the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

For five years until 2015, before he joined the GSMA, he was at FCC, where he “worked on a number of spectrum-related projects, most notably the US proposal to implement incentive auctions to transition encumbered spectrum to new uses”.

There, he wrote on LinkedIn, “I oversaw spectrum policy and auction design issues as well as implementation, managing operations research and software development staff to implement optimisation engines and auction software to facilitate this process.”

He also spent the 1993-2000 period at the FCC involved in spectrum auctions, firstly on the TV digitisation programme and then developing the FCC’s own spectrum auctions. His LinkedIn entry says: “He was the lead auction theory advisor in the [FCC’s] Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and ran the long-range and day-to-day operations of spectrum auctions.”