An FCC filing hints at an agreement between Globalstar and Walmart to test XCOM RAN equipment in Walmart distribution facilities in Brooksville, Florida; and Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

March 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Location coordinates in an FCC filing indicate XCOM testing at two Walmart distribution centers. Pictured is Walmart's Brooksville, Florida, location.
Location coordinates in an FCC filing indicate XCOM testing at two Walmart distribution centers. Pictured is Walmart's distribution center in Brooksville, Florida.(Source: Google Maps screenshot)

Globalstar appears to be testing its XCOM technology with retailing giant Walmart, based on filings with the FCC.

An FCC testing request late last year from XCOM Labs looks to study "a 5G advanced coherent distributed MIMO system for dense and hyper dense wireless deployments" in the 3.5GHz CBRS spectrum band "within an indoor commercial warehouse." The tests would use equipment from Baicells and Analog Devices.

That application cites two testing locations: Brooksville, Florida; and Lebanon, Pennsylvania. The coordinates of both testing locations sit directly atop Walmart distribution centers.

That's all noteworthy considering satellite company Globalstar late last year agreed to pay roughly $64 million for a license to technology from Paul Jacobs' XCOM startup. Then, earlier this year, Globalstar unveiled its new XCOM RAN offering, a wireless networking product that the company said can handle four times the traffic of traditional 5G networks in indoor venues like stadiums and warehouses. Globalstar teased that its "first commercial sale is with one of the world's largest retailers." The company said the sale totaled $1.5 million.

Globalstar did not name its retailer customer. But, based on the FCC filing, it's possible that retailer is Walmart.

Globalstar and Walmart officials did not respond to questions from Light Reading about the filing.

In pursuit of private wireless

Globalstar has long suffered through financial difficulties in its attempts to profit from its satellite operations. But the company rose to prominence in 2022 when it confirmed it would be the satellite operator powering Apple's emergency messaging service for its newer iPhones.

Now, though, Globalstar is working to drum up business beyond its legacy satellite offerings and its ongoing emergency messaging deal with Apple. According to company officials, new opportunities range from spectrum-leasing deals and private wireless networking deployments to radio access networking (RAN) systems.

In its pursuit of those opportunities, Globalstar appointed Paul Jacobs as its new CEO in August. Jacobs was Qualcomm's CEO from 2005 to 2014. He then served as Qualcomm's executive chairman until 2018, when he led a failed attempt to take Qualcomm private. After that, he and several other top Qualcomm executives left Qualcomm to form startup XCOM Labs.

As part of Jacobs' move to become Globalstar's CEO, Globalstar also inked a licensing deal with Jacobs' XCOM startup.

And in February, Globalstar teased that its first XCOM sale was with "one of the world's largest retailers."

In its latest earnings release, Globalstar said that a "major US retailer" placed a $1.5 million order for its XCOM RAN system in order to control robots and other elements moving around warehouses. Globalstar officials have also suggested the retailer might also use the company's Band 53 spectrum for its private wireless network operations.

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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