Amazon & Globalstar Test Wireless Service

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Amazon.com has tested a new wireless network that would allow customers to connect its devices to the Internet, reports Bloomberg.

The wireless network, which was tested in Cupertino, California, used spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar, said the people who asked not to be identified because the test was private.

“Given that Amazon’s becoming a big player in video, they could look into investing into forms of connectivity,” independent wireless analyst Chetan Sharma said in an interview.

Ruckus Wireless and Globalstar recently announced a successful test of Wi-Fi spectrum using Globalstar’s adjacent licensed Mobile Satellite Services (MSS) spectrum.

Globalstar’s Terrestrial Low-Power Service service (TLPS), would use their 2483.5-2495MHz downlink band. The “Wi-Fi extension” would be a new 22 MHz channel within the 2.4 GHz band.

Globalstar uses 1610-1618.725 MHz for uplinks. But satphones are rarely used in urban areas (or indoors) so it’s apparently not a big problem for Globalstar. But users of ordinary 2.4 GHz WiFi (which stops at 2483 Mhz), may find that their 3rd channel (Ch 11), now could have an adjoining interferer from Globalstar.

Globalstar’s Terrestrial Low Power Service (TLPS) has been proposed to the FCC as a privately managed extension to the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band throughout the United States.

Globalstar has asserted that its spectrum is even more valuable than that of Clearwire, because of its compatibility with existing WiFi equipment, implying that it puts a value of at least $2B on the 22MHz of TLPS spectrum.

Amazon’s Kindle tablets and e-book readers have built-in wireless connectivity, and the company sells apps for mobile devices. Amazon also offered a flat rate pricing for its LTE tablet, although their promotional $49.99 data plan has ended.

There aren’t too many places that would benefit from a dedicated Ruckus extended WiFi system that only Amazon users could utilize. Books stores like Barnes and Noble, perhaps, but they’ve got Nook devices to sell.

Google is taking over the Starbucks Wi-Fi network from AT&T while nationwide cable Wi-Fi networks are linking up with Hotspot 2.0.

Still, Free Mobile, a French carrier, has built a mobile network using Wi-Fi hotspots provided by its wireline broadband subscribers, and has proven to be a success.

Carriers and cellular will become the mortar while Wi-Fi will be the bricks“,” said David Morken, CEO of Bandwidth.com, which owns Republic Wireless, a Wi-Fi-based phone network.

If Amazon teamed with the right partner, perhaps community WiFi networks could live – again. GlobalStar could provide the connective tissue.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 at 6:40 pm .

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