Globalstar Receives Terrestrial Authorization in Canada, Brazil and Kenya

November 05, 2020

Globalstar, Inc. has obtained terrestrial authorizations in Canada, Brazil and Kenya. These three countries represent an additional covered population of 300 million and 3.7 billion MHz-Pops, bringing the Company’s total terrestrial authority to over 9 billion MHz-Pops and coverage of a total population of approximately 700 million.

Jay Monroe, Executive Chairman of Globalstar, commented, “Since completing the FCC licensing process for terrestrial service in 2.4 GHz, we have pursued a global initiative to obtain terrestrial authorizations in a multitude of countries in pursuit of commercial spectrum global harmonization. We are very pleased that the hard work of our team has culminated in this success at roughly the same time across three continents. Each of these countries is a significant win for us because they represent important developments for our regulatory efforts – Kenya shows continued momentum in Africa, Brazil has the largest population and economy in South America and Canada is a step forward to a harmonized North American resource.”

Monroe continued, “There are three components of our spectrum effort – international regulatory, standardization and commercialization. After the FCC process concluded we immediately began working on the 3GPP standardization which led to Band 53. We then moved our efforts to the 5G variant which we completed known as Band n53. The standardization of the band allows our partners to add to the ecosystem of devices and infrastructure available which in turn drives regulatory momentum. All of this progress has led to increasing commercial interest in the band and we continue to receive significant support from our growing list of partners.”

INTERNATIONAL SPECTRUM AND REGULATORY UPDATE

With licensing complete in Canada, we continue to make progress in creating a harmonized North America spectrum resource. Mexico’s telecom regulator, IFT, also announced recently that it granted Globalstar’s request to include Band 53 spectrum on its official regulatory agenda for terrestrial action during 2021, following similar proceedings recently conducted by IFT for other S-Band satellite spectrum. Once completed, Mexico would fully unify Band 53 support throughout North America and add another 1.5 billion MHz-Pops while extending coverage to an incremental 130 million POPs.

We remain active across Europe and Africa working with numerous national administrations to authorize Globalstar’s services, including its terrestrial offering. Botswana was the first such international administration to do so. Botswana has been followed by six other African nations – South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Gabon, Rwanda, and, now most recently, Kenya. These countries have authorized Globalstar to provide terrestrial services without any power limitations.

In Europe, Globalstar’s request for Band 53 terrestrial service is currently being considered as a formal technical work item within CEPT, the pan-European telecom coordination body. Globalstar’s work item is supported by multiple European administrations. Most recently, ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, granted Globalstar a test license to permit Band 53 demonstrations in Paris to further support the technical work being conducted at CEPT. The successful completion of the CEPT study is a prerequisite for future terrestrial licensing by European administrations. Globalstar remains committed to seeing this work through successfully.

TERRESTRIAL SPECTRUM IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE

Kyle Pickens, Vice President of Strategy at Globalstar and Partner at Thermo Companies, said “The number of opportunities we are currently pursuing for our terrestrial spectrum and the support we are receiving from international regulators and our ecosystem partners are all moving in the right direction. In the following paragraphs, we will explain certain current target opportunities and how the markets for Globalstar’s spectrum assets are developing generally. These views are enhanced by Thermo's current portfolio and partners, including FiberLight, Lumen, Pivotal Commware, Airspan, Recon and XCOM Labs. Nearly all of the Thermo investments over recent years are meant to directly help Globalstar maximize its potential which has proven to be a helpful strategy thus far.”

Globalstar passed an important milestone recently when the New York Power Authority announced they are trialing Band 53 in their new private wireless network. We believe our spectrum is well-suited for their applications and are hopeful that Band 53 will ultimately be chosen within this new network. The utility industry is a logical early adopter of private wireless networks because they can leverage their already substantial infrastructure and require high levels of security and reliability. In fact, today we are being actively considered for a large-scale utility project in the Southwest in which Qualcomm provided helpful analysis for this project. The utility is trying to consolidate many disparate networks into a single private network and believes Band 53 could be a valuable resource.

Shipping, Logistics and Mining are other industries pushing private wireless networks, LTE now and 5G soon, in an effort to reduce operating costs and improve efficiencies. We announced last quarter that Globalstar won a small West Coast port deployment and are now pursuing a second port opportunity where we expect a trial to begin in the near-term. This opportunity is with a global operator who is planning to deploy similar networks, utilizing Nokia equipment, across their operations in several countries. Only Globalstar offers the potential for globally harmonized spectrum for their purposes. We are also working with additional logistics companies planning to remotely control or fully automate their equipment. It has been determined by these companies that unlicensed spectrum is not a reliable enough alternative and they need to rely on licensed spectrum such as Band 53. Mining operations are high value, but dangerous, leading companies to pursue automation where possible. This necessitates reliable, secure and now more frequently, private wireless connectivity. We are pursuing Band 53 deployments at mines in both the Western United States and South Africa. These early private wireless deployments help push the Band 53/n53 ecosystem forward and generate cash flow but, importantly, do not foreclose the broader more traditional spectrum deals which we are pursuing.

In recent weeks several announcements from the major technology companies have highlighted the value of Globalstar’s collection of spectrum assets. The Amazon Sidewalk initiative made us return to Qualcomm’s inside/out small cell analysis which showed that with household penetration of just 20% in a neighborhood, 96% of data traffic could be offloaded from the macro network. While a carrier’s interest in this is fairly obvious, other entrants could use this model for new applications like security or other IoT services. This analysis assumed a spectrum resource very similar to ours and deployment at lower power levels than the levels at which we are authorized to operate. As compelling as Qualcomm’s analysis is, it has yet to result in significant deployments for several reasons. First, this is a logical deployment for cable companies who are already in most residences, but their wireless ambitions have not fully matured. Speculation is that they have remained focused on Wi-Fi due to the lower equipment cost and are currently pleased to leverage their MVNO relationships. This paradigm may change soon with expected CBRS deployments by cable companies and lower cost 5G equipment driven by ORAN initiatives. We also expect Pivotal Commware’s new repeater technology to drive greater competition for the home broadband business from the wireless carriers with mmWave spectrum like Verizon’s.

Brian Deutsch, CEO of Pivotal Commware, said of Globalstar’s Band n53, “Pivotal is focused on providing solutions that enable operators to lower TCO and accelerate time-to-market for mmWave 5G deployment, but our breakthrough Holographic Beam Forming products include offerings in Globalstar’s Band 53 and C-band spectrum. Where fiber doesn’t make economic sense to deploy, those with mmWave spectrum and our smart repeaters are able to reach those homes or enterprises and compete favorably with cable. Pivotal is building a US-based global technology company leveraging leadership in mmWave, but we believe Globalstar’s Band n53 offers a unique and complementary resource and we look forward to helping them commercialize this asset alongside our products. This includes providing private LTE/5G in homes and enterprises where Pivotal deploys its mmWave network elements.”

Globalstar’s Band n53 with new low-cost smart 5G nodes could offer any of the fiber-rich mobile network operators, cable companies or those utilizing new advanced Fixed Wireless Networks the opportunity to leverage their previous capex to build new 5G consumer and enterprise networks from the “inside-out.” A recent report from industry analyst Jonathan Chaplin says that the cable companies and telcos collectively reach approximately 80 million households with fiber. AT&T, Verizon and Comcast together reach just under 50 million households. At an average of 2.5 people per household, they are connected to approximately 125 million people, or more than 1/3 of the entire US population. Globalstar’s Band n53 could anchor a new neighborhood and enterprise inside-out 5G network, increasing the value created from the significant embedded capital investment in fiber for any or all of these companies. This could either be done in partnership with one or more of the existing wireless and fiber companies or with a new disruptor with established consumer relationships.

While Globalstar’s close partner Airspan was an early leader in economical small cell deployments through their customers Sprint, Rakuten and Reliance Jio, Nokia and Qualcomm also recently announced a new Smart Node portfolio of All-In-One base stations for 5G indoor use. The platform is designed to deliver ubiquitous indoor 5G coverage for residential and enterprise networks. As with Airspan, these new 5G Smart Nodes are meant to offer flexibility at an unmatched price point.

One obstacle to the commercial deployment of densification of networks with traditional small cells has been that with increased density there are too many overlapping cells and cell boundaries leading to diminishing returns as the noise floor at the cell edges increases. We are working closely with the XCOM Labs team, founded by the former leadership of Qualcomm, to implement innovative technical solutions to these issues. They are developing a Distributed Unit which addresses these interference and related issues, resulting in a material improvement in capacity from n53 (in certain environments as much as 5x-10x). We are working closely with XCOM Labs on potential deployments for Band n53 in dense small cell environments where the increase in capacity is most meaningful.

Paul Jacobs, Founder & CEO of XCOM Labs said, “Future wireless networks will be increasingly dense to provide the capacity and latency required of 5G and eventually 6G applications. Globalstar’s spectrum resources, Band n53 now and potentially C-Band later, offer XCOM Labs the opportunity to roll out a global strategy with a significant competitive advantage over our competition.”

In summary, Globalstar has made progress in better positioning the spectrum asset to be commercially available with great partners that are at the cutting edge of wireless technologies. They see value in the resource and we obviously agree.