RESTON, Va. June 21, 2021 – Mobile communications company Ligado Networks today announced it received approvals from the wireless industry’s global standard-setting body for new technical specifications that will enable its L-band spectrum to be deployed in 5G networks.
The approvals from the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) mark a crucial step in Ligado’s expansion of the L-Band vendor ecosystem and its efforts to deploy new mid-band spectrum in 5G networks in the U.S. Ligado is currently eveloping a 5G Mobile Private Network Solution designed to bring the power of next-generation networks to the energy, manufacturing, health care, transportation, and other critical infrastructure sectors.
“This is a major milestone for us – in an already momentous year – and advances our vision to deploy this spectrum for a range of next-generation services,” said Ligado CEO Doug Smith. “The 3GPP green light gives us what we need to accelerate our commercial ecosystem activities and expand Ligado’s roster of partners to deploy this much-needed spectrum for U.S. businesses and consumers.”
3GPP approvals of Band 24 will enable vendors to build 5G and LTE products compatible with Ligado’s mid-band spectrum. Though 3GPP approvals often serve as the kickoff point for spectrum-holders to engage potential ecosystem vendors, Ligado has already entered into commercial agreements with multiple 5G base station and chipset vendors. The company has also announced a collaboration with pioneering network operator Rakuten Mobile to showcase its 5G Mobile Private Network Solution, and the companies plan to deploy lab and field trials over the next 12 months.
The items that were approved at this week’s 3GPP plenary meeting include updates to Ligado’s existing LTE Band 24; 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 spectrum. The approvals of SUL band n99 and band combinations will help facilitate the deployments of L-Band spectrum with other mid-band airwaves like the C-Band, CBRS, and EBS spectrum bands.
“Receiving these 3GPP approvals is a huge springboard to deploy the L-Band in U.S. 5G networks, and we’re excited to have continued support from several industry-leading vendors,” said Chief Technology Officer Maqbool Aliani. “Bringing this additional mid-band spectrum to the 5G market will help the U.S. roll out next-generation deployments more quickly, at lower costs, and with superior network performance.”
Ligado submitted these work items to 3GPP in June 2020 after winning unanimous, bipartisan approval from the Federal Communications Commission to modify its existing spectrum license. In October 2020, the company announced it had successfully raised nearly $4 billion to develop and deploy the L-Band in 5G networks.