The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sent SpaceX a list of additional questions as part of the ongoing review of the satellite operator’s direct-to-mobile service. The FCC wants assurances that SpaceX’s services will not interfere with existing terrestrial mobile networks.
A key concern for the FCC is the potential interference of these new services with terrestrial mobile networks, particularly in areas where T-Mobile has licenses to operate on the same spectrum bands. To address this, the FCC is asking SpaceX to conduct an interference analysis and provide a map with projected beam coverage for the United States.
In addition to interference concerns, the FCC also wants more information from SpaceX about how they would turn off satellites causing interference with terrestrial services and how this would impact customers in adjacent areas. The FCC asks about the procedures for ceasing operations in areas with full terrestrial coverage and how this would affect unserved or underserved areas. They also inquire about the prevention of operation of handsets outside the service area of SpaceX’s partner terrestrial operator.
SpaceX’s application for its Starlink constellation has been under review since February this year. The company has expressed its desire for rapid approvals from the FCC and aims to launch the new services as early as next year. Initially, the service will only support text messaging, with voice and internet services to be added in 2025.
However, there has been opposition to SpaceX’s plans from players in the US telecoms market, including DISH and AT&T, who argue that SpaceX is not following the correct regulatory procedures for fast-tracking its service to commercialization.