New SkyTerra Owner Plans 4G System

There may be a new player offering nationwide 4G access and coverage useful for TV network and station news crews.

This week SkyTerra announced the completion of its acquisition by Harbinger Capital Partners.

The SkyTerra satellite-based voice and data network now covers North America, Central America, the Caribbean and Hawaii from two geostationary satellites using L-band spectrum at 1.5 GHz and 1.6 GHz. The future SkyTerra system will use two new satellites and, perhaps more important for Harbinger, an Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC). Harbinger owns part of another mobile satellite service operator, TerreStar, and has investments in terrestrial wireless operators Leap Wireless and Sprint-Nextel.

An article on said Harbinger plans to wholesale 4G network operations and spectrum to mobile provides, PC manufacturers and consumer electronics manufacturers, among others. The article said network will launch in the third quarter of 2011 in Denver and Phoenix.

4G data rates and access via satellite could make this an alternative to satellite news gathering (SNG) trucks in remote areas distant from urban 4G wireless coverage.

In urban areas, is ATC coverage may be useful for ENG, at least for feeding stories. As I understand Harbinger's business plan, a large broadcast network or station group would be able to lease access to the network.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.