SpaceX fires back at AT&T and RWA in Starlink cellular service battle

SpaceX is preparing to test its Starlink cellular service with T-Mobile and launch its ‘direct-to-cell’ service next year, but the aerospace company is facing opposition from AT&T and the Rural Wireless Association (RWA). SpaceX is not taking the opposition lightly, issuing a fiery response that refers to the RWA as a “Dish-mouthpiece,” a not-so-subtle jab at Dish, a company which has previously attempted to thwart SpaceX’s progress.

Earlier this month SpaceX filed a “special temporary authority (STA)” application to begin satellite testing for its second-generation Starlink service by December 1, which aims to connect unmodified cellular phones directly to SpaceX Gen2 satellites via direct-to-cellular communications payloads. The test will utilize T-Mobile’s “PCS G-Block” radio spectrum to transmit data to smartphones.

However, the company is facing substantial opposition from AT&T and the RWA. Both entities argue that SpaceX is pursuing the wrong regulatory process and should seek an experimental license from the Office of Engineering and Technology. In a letter to the FCC, the AT&T insist that SpaceX must demonstrate that the Starlink cellular service won’t cause interference before conducting real-world tests.

In response to the opposition, SpaceX accused AT&T and the RWA of “coordinating a desperate, 11th-hour campaign” to thwart their groundbreaking venture. SpaceX emphasized the importance of fulfilling FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel’s goals to provide ubiquitous connectivity across the United States.

SpaceX says in its response it believes the STA application is essentially identical to an experimental license, with no increased risk of harmful interference to other spectrum users. The company is urging the FCC to swiftly approve their request, asserting that AT&T and the RWA’s procedural claims lack substance.

“AT&T and RWA raise a series of baseless procedural claims while offering no substantive reason to deny the application. Further, an STA would be technically identical to an experimental license, presenting no increased risk of harmful interference—indeed, no harmful interference risk at all—to other spectrum users,” the company said. (via PCMag)

You can read SpaceX’s full response below.

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