Ligado Facing Bankruptcy According To Lawsuit


Ligado, the cellular service provider whose proposed 5G network may interfere with GPS transmissions, is allegedly on the ropes financially. Ligado has until the end of this week to respond to a lawsuit filed in the New York Supreme Court by Inmarsat, the British satellite communications company that owns the radio spectrum that Ligado intends to use for its network. The suit was first reported by Forbes. Inmarsat says Ligado has missed a $395 million payment due Jan. 1 to maintain a “cooperation agreement” that will allow it to use a slice of radio spectrum Inmarsat controls.

In the suit, filed on Dec. 15, Inmarsat claims that “Ligado has failed to get its business off the ground, and has stated unequivocally that it cannot and will not pay Inmarsat the amounts due on January 1, 2023.” Inmarsat also says Ligado has said it will file for bankruptcy if it doesn’t get an extension on the payment. The $395 million is in addition to a $60 million-a-year payment plan over the next 85 years, says Inmarsat.

The suit says Ligado has recently alleged that Inmarsat has failed to uphold its end of the deal by refusing to harden its own equipment against potential interference from the 5G signals. Inmarsat rejects that claim, saying that requirement was waived in an earlier amendment to the cooperation agreement. Inmarsat is asking for the court to award it the money it’s owed, restore Inmarsat’s control of the radio spectrum and kick out Ligado’s claims about the interference agreement.

In 2020, the FCC approved Ligado’s use of radio spectrum next to frequencies used by satellites to transmit GPS timing signals to receivers on Earth. The decision prompted protests from GPS-dependent industries concerned the much more powerful cellular signals would jam GPS. As we reported earlier, a study by the National Academies of Sciences found that most commercial GPS equipment is safe from interference but some of the gear used by the U.S. military could be significantly affected by the 5G signals.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Is there a go-to reliable source detailing the political connections of Ligado’s ownership, management team, and major investors? Asking for a friend.

    • If they are a public company all that should be public information with the FTC. Except of course the political connections.

  2. “…but some of the gear used by the U.S. military could be significantly affected by the 5G signals.”

    Probably because it was built by the cheapest bidder, relying on previous assurances that no terrestrial transmitters would ever be allowed in that frequency band.

    • Not true. It’s a function of RF physics. Ligato is the resurrection of the old LightSquared creationirirriir of Phil Harbin, who contributed vast amounts to Obama and convinced the FCC to permit terrestrial high power use of the GPS guardband which it bought at a spectrum auction for cheap. GPS signals are very low power and ultra-high precision GPS equipment, including farm planting equipment all depend on the harmonics lobes being heard. This includes WAAS GPS signals. A single transmitter test performed in the 2010 decade demonstrated conclusively the use of this spectrum which is designated low power sat-phone and orbit-terrestrial signals wiped out a 1500 nm radius area of aviation GPS signals at a test power at the transmitter of less than 10% of what Lightsquared proposed in its petition for FCC waiver. Based on this data and input from GA alphabet groups, DOD, Dept of Agriculture and just about everyone using GPS, the FCC finally killed the waiver. Legato bought the ashes of LightSquared and now proposes exactly the same claiming a reinterpretation of the data demonstrates it can do what it wants without destructive interference. The physics of RF generation and propagation has not changed. Doing what Legato/Lightsquared proposed is like running an unmuffled lawnmower in a library and claiming the library was cheaply soundproofed.

    • “ “…but some of the gear used by the U.S. military could be significantly affected by the 5G signals.”

      So significantly affected, that the military want to use 5G on the battlefield:

      “The U.S. Department of Defense, specifically, is interested in 5G as a means to rapidly share information — on and off the battlefield — and improve logistics, like at so-called smart warehouses, where artificial intelligence and remote observation come into play. The department’s 2020 strategy described 5G as “far more disruptive” than its predecessors, noting that high-speed connectivity will “transform the way militaries operate.”

  3. Big money and political power struggles continue, meanwhile us peons are worried about the cost of avgas, and paucity of oil filters and spark plugs. BTY, the word data is plural, these data…..

    • Don’t forget us peons worry about how many might die in a plane wreck, even the ones not related to us.

      There are plenty of fights worth fighting over language drift, but I wouldn’t die on the hill of plurality here. We might be winning the war over literally, or at least holding the line until we die of natural causes.

    • That data is more detailed than this data. However these data were measured and recorded on the same instrument.