The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has launched a process of identifying at least 1,500 MHz of spectrum that can be repurposed to address current and future needs for fixed and mobile broadband, as well as satellite communications and other space-based systems. Separately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved proposals covering satellite-to-phone services. This includes developing a regulatory framework to enable satellite service providers working with mobile operators to gain FCC clearance to tap licensed spectrum, along with the potential to allocate specific frequencies.
Spectrum availability is key to unlocking a nation’s digital growth – by 2030, 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum and 5 GHz of high-band spectrum will be needed per country, according to the GSMA. The NTIA’s spectrum identification move brings together industry, government and academia to help shape a national spectrum strategy; the resulting spectrum roadmap should help US operators to better plan for the long term. The FCC’s regulatory move is in response to the growing momentum behind satellite direct-to-device. A key goal here is facilitating connectivity in hard-to-reach areas, including dead zones. For operators, pragmatic and timely satellite-to-phone regulation will help unlock this market’s potential global revenue opportunity of more than $30 billion by 2035.