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MSS Licensees Seek Increased Power, Out-of-Band Emissions

Two companies seeking approval to transfer control of their 2 GHz mobile satellite service (MSS) licenses to Dish Network Corp. have filed applications for rule waivers and modified terrestrial component authority. The two licenses authorize MSS operations in the 2000-2020 MHz band (uplink) and 2180-2200 MHz band (downlink). The 2000-2020 MHz band is close to the repacked 2 GHz broadcast auxiliary service (BAS) band at 2025-2110 MHz.

The New DBSD Satellite Service G.P., Debtor-in-Possession and TerreStar License, Debtor-in-Possession requests are described in FCC Public Notice (DA 11-1555) and the transfer of control to Dish Network in Public Notice DA 11-1557.

Both operators request modification of their ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) authorizations to allow them to provide service to users with terrestrial-only terminals, noting that not all consumers desire satellite service. They also requested waiver of rules requiring ATC operators to maintain a spare MSS satellite on the ground, saying that both rely on the availability of back-up service from the other's in orbit satellite.

TerreStar requested waivers of FCC Part 25 rules regarding base station EIRP, limits on base station power flux density in the vicinity of airports, base station antenna gain limits and overhead suppression requirements, limits on mobile terminal out-of-channel emissions at the edge of each licensee's assignment, mobile terminal required signal attenuation for bands adjacent to 2000-2020 MHz, and the method for measuring mobile terminal out-of-band emissions.

These requests should not cause the same problems for 2 GHz BAS users as GPS users fear from LightSquared's operations near their frequencies. First, the band closest to the BAS 2 GHz band is used by terminals--likely smartphones or laptop cards or dongles--and not high-power base stations. It's possible that MSS ATC 2 GHz users in high rise buildings could potentially create some problems for ENG receive sites on adjacent buildings, either front-end overload (if the receive site did not have sufficient input filtering) or out-of-band emissions from the 2 GHz MSS/ATC terminal.

If the waivers requested by TerreStar and DBSD are granted, this will open up a significant amount of new bandwidth for wireless broadband – equivalent to over six television channels. Further, the 2 GHz spectrum makes it easier to use directional antennas and to re-use frequencies, providing more capacity in urban areas than systems using an equivalent amount of UHF TV spectrum.