Ligado Networks presents plans to build 5G network

Ligado Networks is pushing ahead with its plan to build a 5G network, requesting that the FCC bar the terrestrial use of a 10 MHz block of airwaves near GPS frequencies and vowing to use power levels that defer to existing standards for airline safety and performance.

Ligado was known as LightSquared until the company rebranded in February after emerging from bankruptcy and settling interference disputes with three GPS vendors. The company plans to file documents with the FCC in an effort to pave the way for it to build a next-generation network using its mid-band spectrum for use by third parties.

Among other things, Ligado wants the 10 MHz block near the GPS frequencies to be set aside for satellite use only, and it is lobbying for a government-conducted "single national auction" for spectrum adjacent to its upper band. The winner of that license at auction "should be required to fund the creation of and transition to a high-speed Internet access and cloud-based distribution of weather data," according to a blog post by Ligado CEO Doug Smith scheduled to be published later today.

"We have presented to the FCC a proposal to utilize our terrestrial mid-band spectrum as a greenfield opportunity that is aligned with the Commission's stated goals of providing the foundation of the 5G future," Smith wrote. "By deploying 40 MHz of smart capacity on mid-band spectrum, we can create a model of at least a partial 5G network -- a next-generation, hybrid satellite-terrestrial network -- that will enable 5G use cases and mobile applications that require ultra-reliable, highly-secure and pervasive connectivity."

LightSquared launched in 2010 with the goal of building a wholesale nationwide LTE network that customers could use to provide their own wireless services. It inked roughly three dozen customers before the FCC revoked its conditional license to operate in the L-band, citing unresolved concerns over interference and forcing LightSquared into bankruptcy. Those concerns have since been resolved.

"We've taken all of these steps because we genuinely believe Ligado's mid-band spectrum is a complementary asset that will fill an essential need in future 5G deployments and will open up profound opportunities to help America maintain its global leadership position in wireless technologies," Smith wrote. "The future -- with 5G and GPS working in concert -- is now."

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FCC approves LightSquared's request to transfer spectrum licenses
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