Nokia to supply L-band radios to Ligado

Nokia
Nokia is adding support for L-Band to its 5G portfolio that already includes C-band and CBRS solutions. (Monica Alleven FierceWireless)

Just a day after announcing the 3GPP’s support for its L-band spectrum plans, Ligado Networks said it reached a deal with Nokia on the development of 5G base stations.

The partnership will be the first in North America to develop a commercial L-band offering to enable operators, service providers and enterprises to expand their 5G services, according to Ligado. The new solution will support Ligado’s deployment of 5G standalone (SA) solutions.

Given that Ligado’s spectrum is in the 1.6 GHz range, it stands to reason that it wouldn’t be a big stretch for vendors to add it to their repertoire. Nokia’s 5G portfolio already includes C-band and Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) solutions, which are at 3.7-3.98 GHz and 3.5 GHz, respectively.

RELATED: Ligado obtains 3GPP L-band approvals for 5G

“The time is right for Nokia to join forces with Ligado to commercialize the L-Band,” said Mika Kahkola, head of RF Product Management at Nokia, in a statement. “Together, we will help mobile operators and enterprises across the U.S. capitalize on the low-mid-band spectrum that hits the sweet spot for capacity and coverage and can accelerate 5G service.”

Ligado CTO Maqbool Aliani called it a significant milestone, bringing the deployment of L-band spectrum in 5G mobile networks one step closer to reality. “Nokia is a key partner in Ligado’s commercial efforts to develop the vendor ecosystem around this lower mid-band spectrum, and we look forward to advancing our collaboration activities to ready the L-Band for 5G network deployments,” he said in a statement.

The companies didn’t say exactly when the gear will be ready for deployment. Last year, Ligado raised nearly $4 billion in new capital to help realize its goal of putting its spectrum to work and serving mission-critical industries, but it’s been hammered by opponents in the GPS industry that insist use of the spectrum will interfere with their equipment. The FCC, in granting approval to Ligado last year, said its conditional approval would prohibit any such harmful interference.