Ligado obtains 3GPP L-band approvals for 5G
One of the tasks Ligado has focused on since getting the go-ahead from the FCC is directing its L-band spectrum through the 3GPP standardization process, and now the company can say it has accomplished that. .
The FCC approved Ligado’s proposed spectrum change in April 2020 despite strong opposition from the Department of Defense (DoD) and the GPS community. Opponents cited potential harmful interference to GPS as a result of Ligado’s intended use of the spectrum, although the FCC has said its conditional approval would prevent this.
Once it got the approval from the FCC, Ligado said it intended to create an ecosystem for L-Band products and services. To this end, Ligado announced on Monday that it had received the approvals. 3GPP for new technical specifications that will allow the deployment of L-band spectrum in 5G networks.
Ligado is focused on delivering a 5G mobile private network solution for the energy, manufacturing, healthcare, transportation and other critical infrastructure sectors. With 35 MHz of lower mid-band spectrum, Ligado said it can provide businesses with “ultra-reliable and secure” private networks, similar to how FirstNet serves public safety on a dedicated network.
“This is a significant milestone for us – in an already significant year – and advances our vision of deploying this spectrum for a range of next-generation services,” said Doug Smith, CEO of Ligado, in a declaration. “The 3GPP go-ahead gives us what we need to accelerate our business ecosystem activities and expand Ligado’s list of partners to deploy this much-needed spectrum for US businesses and consumers. “
Specifically, Ligado said that the items that were approved at this week’s 3GPP plenary meeting include updates to Ligado’s existing LTE 24 band; a new 5G NR band labeled n24; a new 5G NR Supplemental Uplink (SUL) band labeled n99; and NR Carrier Aggregation (CA) and SUL band combinations for n24 and n99 with CBRS, C-Band and EBS / BRS spectra.
The approvals of the SUL n99 band and band combinations “will help facilitate deployments of the L-band spectrum with other mid-range waves like the C-Band, CBRS and EBS spectrum bands,” according to Ligado.
“Receiving these 3GPP approvals is a huge stepping stone to deploying L-band in US 5G networks, and we are delighted to have the continued support of several industry-leading vendors,” said Maqbool Aliani, CTO of Ligado, in a statement. . “Bringing this additional mid-band spectrum to the 5G market will help the United States deploy next-generation deployments faster, at lower cost, and with superior network performance. “
Ligado said it has already entered into business deals with several vendors of 5G base stations and chipsets. In June 2020, Ligado’s bids for 3GPP were approved and “had the support of global vendors such as Nokia, Intel, Samsung and Sequans,” according to the company.
In October, Ligado announced that it had successfully raised nearly $ 4 billion to develop and deploy L-band in 5G networks. At the time, the company said the capital would further strengthen its business collaboration with chip designers, device makers and network infrastructure providers.
Earlier this year, the company announced a collaboration with Japan’s Rakuten Mobile to showcase its 5G mobile private network solution, and the partners are planning lab and field trials over the next 12 months.
RELATED: Ligado Focuses On Deploying L-Band Amid C-Band Extravagance
For years, speculation has been rife that Ligado wanted to sell its spectrum to the highest bidder, most recently a mid-range 5G spectrum hungry wireless operator. While that hasn’t happened, some still see it as a valuable resource for Verizon or AT&T. If T-Mobile or Dish bought the L-band, they would further extend their advantage, according to New Street Research analyst Jonathan Chaplin in a September 2020 report.
“The last major step for Ligado will be getting chipset and radio vendors to incorporate L-band into their designs, paving the way for an operator to deploy L-band to towers and small cells and to sell devices containing L-band – supporting chipsets, ”Chaplin wrote in an investor report today. “This last step of the process will probably take some time, but could be accelerated by the support of a large player in the industry (one of the carriers), who can more easily encourage their suppliers to integrate spectrum into their equipment. . “
Verizon, it seems, is out of the mix. Adam Koeppe of Verizon, senior vice president of technology strategy and planning, told Fierce in March that the company has no interest in using the L-band. This asset has been known in the industry for a long time, and “They couldn’t do anything with… We don’t intend to use anything they sell,” he said.