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SpaceX Says 5G Interference Could Make Starlink ‘Unusable’

SpaceX Says 5G Interference Could Make Starlink ‘Unusable’
A photo of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket taking off.

A long exposure was used to create this image) A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from launch complex 39A on May 6, 2022 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Photo: Red Huber (Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet company is on a collision course with 5G. That’s what SpaceX wants you to think, anyway.

In a spicy new analysis released this week, SpaceX, which owns and operates the Starlink satellite network, argues that television provider Dish’s attempts to open up the 12GHz spectrum for both satellite use and Dish’s 5G mobile network would lead to interference that would, in effect, render Starlink’s product “unusable.” SpaceX’s Starlink satellites currently rely on the coveted 12GHz band to provide downlink services in the U.S.

In its analysis, SpaceX claims some amount of “harmful interference from terrestrial mobile service” (i.e. Dish’s 5G network) within the 12.2-12.7GBHz spectrum band would occur about 77% of the time. The company claims that interference could result in full Starlink outages 74% of the time. From SpaceX’s perspective, Dish’s lobbying efforts potentially pose an existential risk to Starlink’s business in certain markets. Dish, on the other hand, has previously said opening up 12GHz to 5G represents a “win-win” for all involved.

“We want co-existence,” Dish EVP of External & Legislative Affairs Jeff Blum told Fierce Wireless last year. “We believe co-existence is possible. We want to protect our own satellite service.”

For those who’ve lost track, SpaceX has launched around 2,700 Starlink satellites into Earth’s low-earth-orbit and has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide, first launching its internet service in October 2020. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has said he hopes to boost the number of…

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