SpaceX, Dish Network and other 5G providers are in a head to head battle over radio frequencies, trading barbs on how one service negatively impacts the other.
SpaceX alleges that if federal regulators permit 5G wireless networks to use a particular band of spectrum,this can potentially result in widespread outages for its Starlink internet customers. Spectrum is a range of radio frequencies. Federal regulators strictly monitor what companies are allowed to use which frequencies so that signals do not interfere with one another.
In a statement, SpaceX alleges that Dish has attempted to “mislead” the Federal Communications Commission by releasing a “faulty analysis” to prove that allowing Dish to expand its 5G network would not have an impact on Starlink users.
To this, Dish commented that its “expert engineers are evaluating SpaceX’s claims in the filing.”
The focal issue is the 12 GHz band, a slice of radio frequencies that are used for services like Starlink and its satellite internet competitor OneWeb.
In a scorching letter to the FCC, SpaceX’s senior director of satellite policy, David Goldstein, says that “no reasonable engineer” could believe the studies made by Dish and its allies. He also recommended the investigation of Dish Network and RS Access, another wireless provider, who authored these “intentionally misleading reports.”
On the other hand, SpaceX did its own analysis where it purportedly “corrects some of the egregious assumptions” made in Dish and RS Access’ studies.
“If Dish’s lobbying efforts succeed, our study shows that Starlink customers will experience harmful interference more than 77 per cent of the time and total outage of service 74% of the time, rendering Starlink unusable for most Americans,” SpaceX said in a statement.
Dish has previously accused SpaceX of planning to put Starlink terminals on moving vehicles, which is illegal and could interfere with Dish’s satellite TV customers.
Dish had around 8.2 million wireless subscribers as of May and hopes to expand that business widely. Public filings earlier this year disclosed that SpaceX has more than 400,000 Starlink customers globally.