LTE spectrum grab threatens satellite sector

Staff writer
21 Jun 2012

Satellite operators are prepared to circle the wagons and fight to protect their spectrum from interference caused by LTE deployments within existing satellite frequencies, including Ku-band, Ka-band and beyond, said the head of the Global VSAT Forum.

The satellite and mobile broadband sectors were famously at loggerheads six years ago over the controversy of Wimax licenses issued within the extended C-band frequencies of 3.4-3.6 GHz, which satellite operator groups said caused serious interference to satellite television signals.

While the issue was technically resolved at the WRC 07 conference, GVF secretary-general David Hartshorn said that Wimax interference problems persist in numerous markets, and the problem will not go away as Wimax operators migrate to TD-LTE in the same bands.

Hartshorn also said the WRC 12 conference earlier this year has set the stage for a new spectrum fight via Agenda Item 8.2, which includes a resolution to find additional IMT spectrum, as currently designated frequency bands for 4G will be filled before 2020.

Agenda Item 8.2 mentions “higher bands” as a possible source of extra IMT spectrum, but doesn’t specify which bands would be under consideration.

But Hartshorn insists that both the Ku- and Ka-band are already being targeted for mobile broadband usage.

“We have already seen open proceedings by national administrations looking at wireless as a shared service with Ku-band and also with Ka-band,” he said.

“That’s how it starts – they look for points of weakness, test it at the national level, then build it out at a global level. If they sense vulnerability, we’re going to have a fight on our hands for that spectrum.”

Hartshorn said the satellite industry is gearing up for WRC 15 to protect the spectrum bands it uses already.


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