Ligado selects Ericsson, Sequans to build satellite-based IoT network
Ligado Networks said it aims to use 40 megaherz of mid-band spectrum for the deployment
Ligado Networks announced plans to start developing 5G technology in the L-Band for mobile services in North America.
Under this multi-year strategic plan, Ligado aims to deploy a satellite and terrestrial mobile network that will utilize 40 megahertz of mid-band spectrum from its holdings at 1.6 GHz to provide 5G solutions for critical industries.
The company also said that Ericsson and Sequans have been selected as technical partners for this project.
By utilizing existing LTE-M and NB-IoT technologies, the satellite adaptation of this 3GPP standards-based technology will support a new category of emerging devices and evolve as part of the 5G specifications, Ligado Networks said.
Ligado, in its former life as company LightSquared, had previously put together plans to build a nationwide, satellite-based LTE network, but ultimately ended up in bankruptcy protection precipitated by the FCC’s refusal to grant the company access to its spectrum licenses due to interference concerns with some GPS equipment radiating outside of GPS channels. LightSquared had attempted to use the spectrum as part of a “4G” network deployment plan with Sprint that would have seen it resell access to third parties. Ligado has been talking up the possibility of 5G plans for its spectrum holdings since 2016.
The companies aim to conduct several 5G demonstrations in the near future.
Ligado Networks is awaiting FCC review of its terrestrial authorizations in the L-Band and is working with equipment vendors to select 5G suppliers.
“We are proud to announce this exciting effort with key partners and believe it will accelerate the development of the L-Band ecosystem for 5G in North America,” said Doug Smith, Ligado CEO. “Making this further investment in the transition of mid-band spectrum for terrestrial use represents a big stride forward for the country’s efforts to deliver next-generation services and win the race to 5G.”
“Ericsson is committed to help provide global connectivity by leveraging innovative technology and supporting new business models,” said Kevin Zvokel, head of networks for Ericsson North America. “We are excited to work with Ligado Networks on this 5G opportunity.”
In July, T-Mobile launched a nationwide IoT network using NB-IoT technology, while Verizon has said that it plans to launch an NB-IoT network by the end of this year; the operator already offers LTE-M services. AT&T also said that it plans to launch an NB-IoT network in the U.S. in early 2019 and Mexico in late 2019, to complement its existing LTE-M networks in those countries.
Last month, satellite communications company Iridium Communications announced it has been collaborating with Amazon Web Services to develop a new service dubbed Iridium Cloud Connect, a satellite cloud-based solution that offers global coverage for internet of things applications.
Iridium, which recently joined the AWS partner network, said that the new service will be commercially launched in 2019. The new offering will make Iridium IoT services available with AWS IoT, extending the reach of AWS’s suite of services to the more than 80% of the planet that lacks cellular coverage, Iridium said.
Additionally, Iridium customers will be able to take advantage of AWS IoT, while existing AWS customers will have a new way to expand their geographic IoT footprint globally.