|Founded||December 7, 2015|
|Headquarters||Reston, Virginia, United States|
|President and Chief Executive Officer Douglas Smith|
Ligado Networks is an American satellite communications company.
The company was formerly known as LightSquared. After restructuring, emerging from bankruptcy and modifying its network plan, the new company, Ligado Networks, launched in 2016. It operates the SkyTerra 1 satellite.
Ligado Networks is based in Reston, Virginia. The company is governed by a seven-member board of directors with Ivan Seidenberg as Chairman and Doug Smith as president and CEO.[better source needed]Fortress Investment Group, LLC, Centerbridge Partners LP and JPMorgan Chase & Co. own controlling stakes in Ligado Networks; Harbinger Capital Partners maintains a minority stake.
Ligado Networks has 40 MHz of spectrum licenses in the nationwide block of 1500 MHz to 1700 MHz spectrum in the L-Band. With it, the company is developing a satellite-terrestrial network to support the emerging 5G market and Internet of Things applications.
The company (as LightSquared) reached a cooperation agreement in 2007 with Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, that rearranged the L-Band spectrum so the company could use a larger, contiguous stretch of spectrum. Potential interference issues at the time prevented LightSquared from deploying the network.
In 2010, the company acquired licenses to mid-band spectrum when it bought SkyTerra Communications. LightSquared's plans, which did not come to fruition, were to use the spectrum to create a 4G wireless mobile network covering North America.
Ligado Networks originated in 1988 with the company American Mobile Satellite Corporation (which became Motient Corporation), and later as Mobile Satellite Ventures after a merger between Motient Corporation and TMI Communications. The company originally operated two geostationary satellites covering the North American market: MSAT-2, licensed in the United States, launched in 1995; the next year, the company launched MSAT-1, which is licensed in Canada.
Mobile Satellite Ventures changed its name to SkyTerra Communications in 2008. LightSquared emerged from SkyTerra after Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners acquired SkyTerra in March 2010. The company received about $2.9 billion in assets from Harbinger and affiliates, as well as more than $2.3 billion in debt and equity financing. LightSquared sought to develop a 4G LTE wireless broadband network using spectrum in the L-Band.
The company launched its SkyTerra 1 satellite from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 14, 2010. At its launch, the satellite contained the largest commercial reflector antenna put into service. SkyTerra 1 replaced MSAT-1 and MSAT-2 as most of the data from the company's MSAT satellites relocated to SkyTerra 1.
The spectrum the company controls was originally set aside for satellite communications only. That changed in 2004 when the FCC granted approval for the company to augment its satellite network with cellphone towers on land. In January 2011, the FCC approved a conditional waiver to allow the company to use its spectrum for land-based-only LTE communications if the company resolved GPS interference. The GPS industry, aviators and military claimed the company's use of its spectrum would interfere with their communications. In February 2012, the FCC proposed to suspend indefinitely the ATC authorization due to the interference issues with satellite services. Three months later, LightSquared filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy.
On December 7, 2015, the company emerged from bankruptcy as a new company under the control of Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Investment Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Harbinger retained minority ownership. Also in December 2015, the company reached settlements with GPS companies Garmin Ltd., Deere & Co. and Trimble Navigation Ltd. to establish how the company and GPS companies can coexist.
In 2011, LightSquared's plan for standalone-terrestrial broadband services met resistance over potential interference issues with GPS systems. In a January 12, 2011, letter to the FCC, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) chief Lawrence Strickling said that LightSquared's hybrid mobile broadband services raise "significant interference concerns" and that several federal agencies wanted the FCC to defer action on LightSquared until the concerns were addressed.
On January 20, 2011, GPS industry representatives sent a letter to the FCC, sharing a study by Garmin International that said "widespread, severe GPS jamming will occur" if LightSquared's plans were approved. The study used two GPS models and simulated LightSquared transmitters.
Testing showed that LightSquared's proposed ground-based transmissions could "overpower" the fainter GPS signals from space-based satellites. With the band close to those GPS signals, "GPS devices could pick up the stronger LightSquared signals and become overloaded or saturated".
On January 26, 2011, The Federal Communications Commission granted a conditional waiver that allowed LightSquared and its wholesale customers to offer terrestrial-only devices rather than having to incorporate both satellite and terrestrial services. The waiver was conditioned on resolving concerns about interference to GPS. Companies that provide global positioning systems, in addition to the United States Air Force, the operator of the GPS system, opposed the FCC waiver, saying that more time was needed to resolve concerns that LightSquared's service might interfere with their satellite-based offerings. LightSquared promised to work with GPS providers and give the FCC monthly updates on a resolution to interference concerns.
On April 5, 2011, with respect to concerns raised by the U.S. GPS Industry Council and NTIA about LightSquared's proposed operations, the FCC stated that LightSquared could not commence offering a commercial terrestrial service until the agency concluded that the harmful interference concerns had been resolved.
On February 14, 2012, the FCC initiated proceedings to vacate LightSquared's Conditional Waiver Order based on the NTIA's conclusion that there was currently no practical way to mitigate potential GPS interference.
On September 15, 2011, Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio) called for the United States House Oversight and Government Committee to investigate LightSquared under the premise that the Federal Communications Commission waived a rule for LightSquared because of campaign contributions to Democrats. LightSquared officials, who had contributed to both Republicans and Democrats, denied the allegations.
Among the issues raised was whether political contributors and investors received favorable treatment by President Barack Obama's administration. Before he became president, Senator Obama had invested between $50,000 and $90,000 in SkyTerra, which later became LightSquared. An Air Force General claimed in a closed congressional hearing that he had received political pressure to soften his testimony regarding the negative effects of LightSquared technology. However, the General's spokesperson denied there was any improper influence and said that the general's testimony was reviewed appropriately by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and other executive agencies via the established Office of Management and Budget process.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking minority member on the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, had also asked Falcone and LightSquared's CEO to disclose their contacts with the FCC, the White House and other government agencies.
In November 2019 U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper sayed he strongly opposes Ligado airwaves plan. He also saw "potential for widespread disruption and degradation of GPS services from the proposed Ligado system".
Harbinger Capital Partners, a New York-based hedge fund, formed LightSquared in July 2010 out of the remains of a company that began in 1988 as American Mobile Satellite and later did business as Mobile Satellite Ventures and SkyTerra.
Motient and TMI Communications have announced that their new jointventure, Mobile Satellite Ventures LP (MSV) has been granted the necessary regulatory approvals from both the FCC and its Canadian counterpart, Industry Canada. These regulatory approvals have allowed MSV to complete the previously announced combination of Motient's satellite operations with those of TMI Communications, and to become a standalone operating entity.
Its successful launch in April of American Mobile Satellite's MSAT-2 geostationary spacecraft pioneered a new large-antenna reflector technology (two graphite ovals 16 x 22 ft), which enables their mobile satellites to form many isolated spot beams, permitting the limited frequency spectrum to be reused between beams.
The MSAT-1 was launched Saturday in the South American country French Guiana. ... until now, a U.S. satellite was carrying the companies' signals.