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Satellite C-band is worth billions, but how many?

16 Sep 2019, 21:14 UTC
Satellite C-band is worth billions, but how many?
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PARIS — As the U.S. Federal Communications Commission prepares to decide how to reallocate some or all of the nation’s satellite C-band downlink spectrum for the coming wave of 5G mobile communications services, experts say appraising the monetary value of the spectrum remains tricky.
Satellite operators Intelsat, SES and Telesat collectively stand to gain billions of dollars if the FCC choses their spectrum repurposing plan over competing proposals from cable and cellular operators. How many billions they would get from parting with 200 megahertz of spectrum is unknown, however.
“Spectrum values are very badly understood by equity investors,” Fred Turpin, JP Morgan’s global head of media and communications, said Sept. 9 at the World Satellite Business Week conference here.
Those investors, he said, have to understand a number of unfamiliar but nonetheless influential variables, ranging from specific regulatory policies to the spectrum clearing process and the impact of the timing of an FCC decision. Those variables create uncertainty for investors, resulting in volatility for the stock prices of companies involved, he said.
Turpin said JP Morgan’s “best math” suggests Intelsat and SES are each marketing “a couple billion dollars” of C-band spectrum.
Intelsat and SES ...

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