Ligado Networks is joining the likes of Verizon and AT&T in hooking up with the Open RAN Policy Coalition, an organization launched in May to advocate for government policy that helps drive open RAN adoption. The Open RAN Policy Coalition now boasts more than 50 members.
Ligado won FCC approval in April for its plan to deploy a low-power terrestrial nationwide network in the L-Band to support 5G and IoT services despite major pushback from the Department of Defense (DoD) and others who fear it will interfere with GPS.
According to Ligado, the flexibility provided by open RAN technology is a crucial component of its plans to build and deploy new 5G networks for enterprise customers in U.S. industries like transportation, manufacturing, energy and health care.
“Ligado is proud to stand with our colleagues in the wireless industry in support of this more modern approach to wireless networking,“ Ligado CTO Maqbool Aliani said in a statement. “This technology ensures that carriers can use the right vendor for the job, which helps diversify our ecosystem, drive innovation, and increase resiliency.”
Open RAN advocates say it allows operators to build networks at lower costs and update their infrastructure more quickly. In addition, Ligado said open RAN will help drive U.S. leadership in 5G and advance national security – two of Ligado’s core goals – by bringing new U.S. vendors into the mix and enabling American alternatives to Huawei.
“Open RAN Policy Coalition members believe open interfaces create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for advanced wireless technologies including 5G,” Coalition Executive Director Diane Rinaldo said in the press release. “That our membership reflects a diverse group of forward-thinking companies illustrates how powerful Open RAN can be for innovation, and we’re excited to have Ligado join our growing ranks.”
Rinaldo’s comments are notable given the current opposition by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) to Ligado’s plans. She is the former acting administrator of the NTIA after David Redl left; she left the post in December. Reports have noted that the NTIA was more accepting of Ligado’s application before its current leadership took over.
NTIA petitioned the FCC in May to reconsider its Order and Authorization to conditionally grant license modification applications filed by Ligado, saying the action permits Ligado to provide terrestrial wireless services that threaten to harm federal government users of GPS along with a variety of other public and private stakeholders.
Ligado has called the NTIA's request "outrageous" and says the FCC's order imposes firm conditions that protect against harmful interference to GPS operations.