DirecTV Says Dish Network 5G Plan Will Wreak Havoc on Its Satellite TV Signals

DirecTV satellite dish
(Image credit: Future)

DirecTV has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission, claiming the allocation of the 12 GHz spectrum band for use in terrestrial 5G wireless communication — a prospective technology allocation favored by satellite-TV rival Dish Network — would present serious interference issues with satellite-TV service should it be allowed to move forward.

DirecTV said it hired satellite and space systems consulting firm Savid LLC to develop a “conservative” analysis of a modern mobile system using the 12.2-12.7 GHz band.

“The analysis concludes that mobile operations in the band would cause extensive harmful interference to DirecTV receivers, exceeding the limits currently in place to protect DBS customers by a factor of 100 to 100,000 over areas extending well beyond the intended coverage area of the mobile base stations,” DirecTV said in its letter sent to the FCC last week.

Both Dish and RS Access, a spectrum holding company, have licenses in the 12-GHz band that they want to upgrade for terrestrial 5G services. These companies, along with other members of the “5G for 12 GHz Coalition,” claim that mobile services can peacefully coexist with other users, including direct-broadcast satellite (DBS) operations.

But DirecTV isn't the only one that disputes this notion. Both SpaceX and OneWeb have filed their own letters with the FCC in June, claiming usage of the 12-GHz frequency will cause significant interference for two-way broadband applications over satellite.

“DBS is a one-way service that cannot afford to lose packets to interference,” DirecTV said in its letter. “Unlike broadband systems, which can replace lost packets through two-way communications, DBS packets lost to interference result in frozen video screens — and canceled subscriptions.”

DirecTV had around 14.3 million remaining linear pay TV subscribers at the end of the first quarter, some of them IP-delivered and legacy AT&T U-verse TV customers, but most of them satellite TV.

Dish Network had just under 8 million remaining DBS customers. ■

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!