SES to accelerate access to C-band spectrum for Verizon to support deployment of 5G services
SES and Verizon Communications have agreed to expand the US-based mobile carrier’s access to a portion of the C-band (3700-3800MHz) in important regions across the US earlier than the relocation deadlines set out in the US Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) C-Band Report and Order.
SES has already completed its Phase I accelerated C-band clearing ahead of the first FCC deadline of 5 December 2021, a critical step in meeting the Commission’s objectives to rapidly roll out 5G services across the US. As a result it earned almost $1 billion in accelerated relocation payments. To meet the Phase II deadline of 5 December 2023, SES is working to relocate its existing services from the 3700-4000MHz band and complete equipment changes for Incumbent Earth Stations across the entire contiguous United States, earning an additional $3 billion in accelerated relocation payments in the process.
This new agreement will see SES expand Verizon’s access to the 3700-3800MHz block in certain markets beyond the 46 Partial Economic Areas cleared in Phase I and earlier than the Phase II accelerated relocation deadline. SES will install filters and other ancillary equipment at about 500 sites in 2022, comparable to the activities executed during Phase I, and will earn up to an additional $170 million from Verizon, subject to delivering the clearing on a timeline agreed to by the parties.
“Providing 5G services to as many Americans as soon as possible supports the US economy and enables the delivery of valuable services to the population. We will leverage the experience we have gained over the past year and shorten the clearing timeline for Verizon’s spectrum,” said Steve Collar, CEO at SES.
SES will incur additional costs to perform this clearing. The previously communicated estimate of $80 million of non-reimbursable costs across the entire C-band clearing project is now being increased to $100 million to reflect the magnitude of the agreement with Verizon.