Ligado charts course to 5G after FCC win - Mobile World Live

Ligado charts course to 5G after FCC win

20 APR 2020

US satellite communications company Ligado Networks prepared to deploy 5G service using L-band spectrum (1GHz to 2GHz), after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved its long-pending licence application.

Timothy Donahue, Ligado Networks director, said in a statement the FCC decision offered “much-needed certainty in the L-band” and amounted to “a work order for our employees, vendors, customers and technology partners”.

Ligado Networks CEO Doug Smith added the combination of the company’s forthcoming terrestrial 5G service with its satellite capabilities will allow it to “deploy customised private networks and deliver innovative, next-generation IoT solutions for the industrial sector”.

The FCC vote came just days after chairman Ajit Pai circulated a proposal advancing a version of Ligado Networks’ deployment plan with conditions intended to mitigate harmful interference with GPS.

Approval came despite strong opposition from several government agencies, including the Department of Defence (DoD), which argued the company’s plan would jeopardise military GPS operations in the L-Band.

In a tweet responding to Pai’s proposal, Secretary of Defence Mark Esper stated the DoD “continues to support domestic 5G options, but not at the risk of crippling our GPS networks”.

On 15 April, a trio of politicians urged President Donald Trump to intervene and block Ligado Networks’ plan from moving forward, calling it a “bad deal for America’s national and economic security”.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana is Mobile World Live's US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana came to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and CED Magazine, digital-only...

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