Lynk wins FCC approval for satellite-to-phone service - Mobile World Live

Lynk wins FCC approval for satellite-to-phone service

17 SEP 2022

Lynk Global is laying claim to the first commercial licence for a satellite-to-mobile-phone service.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Lynk Global the licence, paving the way for it to launch commercial services across its global constellation of satellites later this year.

Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner noted to Mobile World Live that Lynk’s FCC licence has been in the works for several years.

“This is the first time the FCC licenced direct satellite to mobile device communications,” he stated. “It’s an important prerequisite for the service. I would expect more permissions to be granted going forward.”

Lynk Global’s technology allows standard roaming partner integration without any hardware or software changes to operators’ networks.

Competitive space
FCC approval comes at a time of major attention on this new market.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and T-Mobile US boss Mike Sievert noted during a high-profile August launch event that they were announcing a “vision” rather than a product for enabling basic messaging using Starlink satellites. The beta trial for the service is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2023.

At the time the two companies acknowledged FCC approval was a barrier to launch.

Meanwhile Apple plans to turn on an emergency messaging service on its new iPhone 14  starting in November in the US and Canada through a partnership with satellite company Globalstar.

Lynk Global launched its first bird covered by an FCC operating licence in April and is scheduled to launch three more in 2022.

It signed an agreement with mobile service wholesaler BICS earlier in September to enable operators to provide coverage in remote areas.

Lynk Global claims contracts with 15 mobile network operators in 36 countries (albeit no major tier one operators) representing over 240 million mobile subscribers and is actively testing in ten countries.

The company’s CEO Charles Miller stated in a LinkedIn post it is “years ahead of everybody else in this new category of space service.”

Lynk rival AST SpaceMobile has struck a number of deals with big operator names such as Rakuten and Vodafone, but so far the FCC has only awarded the company an “experimental” license.

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Mike Robuck

Mike Robuck is the U.S. Editor at Mobile World Live. He joined the Mobile World Live staff in February of 2022. Prior to joining GSMA, he was editor of FierceTelecom and of Light Reading’s Telco Transformation microsite. He has a...

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