As LTE networks begin the testing phase, one mobile phone competitor, SkyTerra Communication, is planning to build a nationwide wholesale mobile network using a combination of Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) and an ATC (ancillary terrestrial component) network to deliver 4G mobile capability.
I plan to bring in three industry visionaries to discuss this bold and very interesting strategy. The discussion, in the form of an audiocast, will take place on June 15th at 11:00 a.m. and you can register here. The audio cast will be a panel discussion, moderated by myself and three very astute industry visionaries see their bios below.
The mobile satellite business plan is the Holy Grail for those with the vision that satellites can provide "universal" 4G mobile service to the typical consumer. The MSS strategy has been unsuccessfully attempted in the past. But now, better chips, better phones, and bigger satellite dishes are pushing more power than ever to smaller handsets - making the business case for MSS more likely.
The satellite plan is of great interest in both urban and rural areas as the network could deliver the ubiquitous and redundant mobile service for public safety and first responders. The SkyTerra business model became newsworthy when on March 26, 2010, the FCC issued an order approving the merger of SkyTerra Communications and Harbinger Capital Partners. The Commission included controversial requirements and conditions that would potentially limit the use of Verizon Wireless and AT&T wireless networks by SkyTerra.
Aside from the contentious issues imposed in the merger order, there are other matters which are of interest for industry vendors, regulators and mobile users. The SkyTerra business plan, filed shortly after the March 2010 merger order, would give public safety much of what was sought in the D-Block 700Mhz auction - that is a provider of a single, nationwide, redundant mobile network using a low cost handset. SkyTerra is potentially in a much better position than FrontLine Wireless was to build out a nationwide network that would allow public safety to communicate from across departments. The loss of cell towers would not limit public safety from communicating. Also, the ability to deliver broadband mobile capacity to rural areas would provide an alternative to expensive special access.
Some issues that we will discuss on this call include:
1. Will the SkyTerra project change the FCC's position on the 700Mhz D-Block?
2. What is the FCC's current D-Block plan?
3. Has the Commission initiated a policy of supporting more wireless competition by limiting the largest providers from participating in future spectrum auctions?
4. Will the Commission conduct such thorough competitive reviews with stringent conditions of future mobile mergers as it did with SkyTerra and Harbinger?
5. Could such future Commission orders increase mobile competition in the U.S. but further erode slowing user growth and ARPU for the largest mobile providers?
6. Is 4G mobile satellite a reality or just a long shot?
June 15th audiocast participants:
Barlow Keener, Attorney, Keener Law Group
Barlow Keener has been specializing in communications law and development for over 15 years and is an authority on wireless and wired matters related to telecommunications, CALEA, femtocells, WiFi mesh networks, and fiber optic networks. He represents telecommunications providers in state and federal regulatory matters. He has served as lead telecom regulatory counsel in connection with numerous RBOC, VoIP, CLEC, conference calling, voicemail, and collocation projects. Barlow delivers guidance to communications providers and systems integrators related to defining telecommunications and non-telecommunications services. He also provides strategic and policy advice to telecommunications, information technology and media firms in the United States, Asia and Europe.
Brough Turner, Founder and CTO, Ashtonbrooke Corporation, soon to be doing business as BigBroadband.Net
Brough Turner is an engineer and entrepreneur focused on communications in the broadest sense. Previous to Ashtonbrooke, Brough was co-founder of Natural MicroSystems and co-founder and CTO of its successor, NMS Communications, where he focused on business strategy, product architecture and new market development. He speaks and writes widely on communications topics and gives tutorials on 3G and 4G wireless technology and markets. In addition, he serves on advisory boards for several startup companies in telecom and Internet markets and occasionally consults on related topics. More at http://broughturner.com
Lyman Chapin is co-founder and partner at Interisle Consulting Group,
Lyman advises companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies on Internet technology, policy, and governance; telecommunications network security and resilience; and critical infrastructure protection. Before starting Interisle in 2002 he was Chief Scientist at BBN Technologies. Mr. Chapin is a Fellow of the IEEE, and was a founding trustee of the Internet Society. He has served as a Director of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), where he currently chairs the Registry Services Technical Evaluation Panel and the DNS Stability Panel, and as chairman of the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), the ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM), and the ANSI and ISO standards groups responsible for Network and Transport layer networking standards. Mr. Chapin was a principal architect of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model and protocols, and is the co-author of Open Systems Networking--TCP/IP and OSI. He currently serves as the USA/ACM representative to the International Federation for Information Processing Technical Committee on Communication Systems (IFIP TC6) and recently completed a five-year term as the USA representative to the NATO Science Committee networking panel.
Please remember to pre-register for this call here: http://www.zipdx.com/event/