A recent FCC request has turned adversaries into friends. A request made by Ligado Networks requesting the FCC to allow formation of a 5G network with shared spectrum has drawn support from rival carriers along with industry trade groups like the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) and Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA).
The two groups count major wireless rivals – T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon – as members. CTIA comments to the FCC state, “Repurposing this band [1675-1680 MHz] for shared commercial use is one more step the commission can take to help accommodate the explosive growth in demand for mobile broadband.” Although the CTIA and CCA are currently supporting the proposal, digital advocacy groups claim it will bring more competition to the market. If mobile broadband space is widely used, it is expected to spur creation of additional hardware, software, and applications.
Ligado initially requested to use 40 megahertz of its spectrum to launch a ground-based wireless network, which would be combined with a satellite-based communications system. The FCC denied a similar plan between Ligado’s precursor, LightSquared, and Sprint several years ago.