Amazon submitted application materials to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the hopes that the FCC would permit the re-launch of 4538 satellites to expand their Kuiper satellite network, thus Andy Herron of SpaceX, Elon Musk's space exploration technology business, issued a challenge.
As early as April 2019, Amazon announced that it would form the Kuiper satellite network. The network will consist of 3236 satellites and is designed to provide broadband Internet services to users around the world. Last year, the FCC approved the plan. And Amazon subsequently stated that it plans to invest more than $10 billion in the Kuiper satellite network.
Today, Amazon once again applied to the FCC, hoping to launch 4538 satellites, thereby increasing the number of satellites on the Kuiper network to 7774.
In the satellite Internet market, SpaceX's "Starlink" network is an early leader in this market. So far, SpaceX has launched 1,740 satellites, and more than 100,000 users in 14 countries and regions have participated in the public beta. The service price is US$99 per month.
Following SpaceX is the British company OneWeb. Of the 648 satellites planned to be launched, nearly half are already operating in low-Earth orbit. Other competitors include the US's AST SpaceMobile and Canadian satellite operator Telesat.
So far, Amazon has not put any Kuiper satellites into orbit. But earlier this year, Amazon signed an agreement with the United Launch Alliance to conduct nine launches. According to the FCC's authorization, Amazon must deploy half of its planned satellites within six years. This means that Amazon must put about 1,600 satellites into orbit by July 2026.
Last month, Amazon and US telecom operator Verizon jointly announced that Verizon will use Amazon's Kuiper satellite network to provide broadband Internet services in rural and remote areas. In addition, the two companies also stated that they will consider providing "joint connectivity solutions" for industries such as agriculture, energy, manufacturing, education, emergency response, and transportation.
In response, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement: "We are proud to work together to bring fast and reliable broadband services to the customers and communities who need broadband the most."