SES Inks Deal with Verizon to Speed up Access to C-Band Spectrum for 5G

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LUXEMBOURG—Satellite communications provider SES has announced a deal with Verizon Communications that could speed up deployments of 5G services in the U.S. 

The deal will expand Verizon’s access to a portion of the C-band (3700-3800 MHz) used by SES in important regions across the U.S. earlier than the relocation deadlines set out in the U.S. Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) C-Band Report and Order.

SES said it has already completed its Phase I accelerated C-band clearing ahead the first FCC deadline of December 5, 2021, a critical step in meeting the Commission’s objectives to rapidly roll out 5G services across the U.S. SES earned almost $1 billion in accelerated relocation payments as a result of that effort. 

To meet the Phase II deadline of December 5, 2023, SES is working to relocate its existing services from the 3700-4000 MHz band and complete equipment changes for Incumbent Earth Stations across the entire contiguous United States, earning an additional $3 billion in accelerated relocation payments in the process.

This new agreement will see SES expand Verizon’s access to the 3700-3800 MHz block in certain markets beyond the 46 Partial Economic Areas cleared in Phase I and earlier than the Phase II accelerated relocation deadline. SES will install filters and other ancillary equipment at about 500 sites in 2022, comparable to the activities executed during Phase I, and will earn up to an additional $170 million from Verizon, subject to delivering the clearing on a timeline agreed to by the parties, SES reported.

“Providing 5G services to as many Americans as soon as possible supports the U.S. economy and enables the delivery of valuable services to the population. We will leverage the experience we have gained over the past year and shorten the clearing timeline for Verizon’s spectrum,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES.

SES said it will incur additional costs to perform this clearing. It has boosted its previous estimate of $80 million of non-reimbursable costs across the entire C-band clearing project to $100 million to reflect the magnitude of the agreement with Verizon.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.