SpaceX has published an analysis raising alarms over Dish Network’s 5G network rollout, saying it will severely impact its own Starlink internet service.
Starlink is the satellite internet service SpaceX has been deploying. Unlike previous services, Starlink is a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, giving it the ability to compete with traditional broadband, in terms of speed and latency. According to SpaceX, Dish Network’s 5G rollout threatens that service by using the same 12GHz band spectrum Starlink relies on, causing interference that will render “the band effectively unusable for satellite service to most Americans.”
SpaceX uses the 12GHz band for the downlink between its satellites and ground-based terminals. The company says that Dish’s use of the spectrum will result in interference at least 77% of the time, resulting in outages 74% of the time.
In addition to its analysis, the company sent a letter to the FCC, in which it blasted Dish, along with wireless firm RS Access:
Upon even a cursory review of DISH’s and RS Access’s supposed “studies” relating to how much harm a new high-power mobile service would do to next-generation satellite broadband services in the 12 GHz band, it is clear that no reasonable engineer could believe they represent an honest interference analysis.
SpaceX even went so far as to insinuate that Dish and RS Access may have intentionally misled the FCC with their statements:
As such, SpaceX urges the Commission to investigate whether DISH and RS Access filed intentionally misleading reports. These reports simply cannot be squared with DISH’s own correct representations in December 2019 that “concurrent sharing of spectrum between co-primary 5G and NGSO FSS operations is not viable in the 12 GHz Band.”
It remains to be seen which company’s data and analysis are correct. However, given what’s at stake for Dish and SpaceX, not to mention the allegations SpaceX raises, it’s a safe bet this saga is far from over.