MidWave Wireless has requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include its spectrum holdings in the agency’s supplemental coverage from space (SCS) proceeding. The company claims ownership of spectrum in the 1.4GHz band, which has the potential to provide connections between smartphones and satellites.
MidWave holds 64 commercial wireless licenses in the 1.4GHz band, covering the entire nation. Currently, these licenses enable Wireless Medical Telemetry Services (WMTS) in over 2,000 medical facilities across the country. However, the company states that the eligibility for flexible use of these licenses began on August 29, 2023, making them suitable for the provision of SCS.
In addition to phone-to-satellite connections, MidWave suggests that its spectrum holdings could be utilized for private wireless networking. The company highlights the availability of the high-power 1.4GHz band for various private LTE and NR (5G New Radio) use cases to support next-generation industrial and enterprise wireless applications.
MidWave’s indirect investment in 1.7GHz spectrum is also mentioned, potentially involving Dish Network. However, Dish officials have denied any agreement with MidWave.
MidWave Wireless is supported by telecom lawyer John Kneuer, who has held various government positions, including at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Kneuer’s association with Globalstar, a satellite and spectrum supplier for Apple’s iPhone satellite messaging service, is mentioned. However, Kneuer is not currently listed on Globalstar’s board.
MidWave is just one of several companies aiming to capitalize on the convergence of spectrum, satellites, and private networks. Ligado Networks, Omnispace, and Iridium are among those seeking to leverage their spectrum holdings for phone-to-satellite connections. On the other hand, SpaceX, AST SpaceMobile, and Lynk Global are looking to utilize terrestrial spectrum owned by major network operators, such as T-Mobile and AT&T, for the same purpose.
Various companies, including Anterix, Globalstar, Verizon, and Dish Network, are exploring the potential use of their spectrum holdings for private wireless networking deployments. However, some companies, like Ligado, have faced challenges, including legal disputes and concerns about demand slowdowns.
Efforts to contact MidWave officials, including John Kneuer, have been unsuccessful.