LightSquared/Ligado wants to build a wireless network for drones, trains and automobiles

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In its bid to blow up the nation’s cellular industry a half-decade ago, a company named LightSquared proposed something no wireless carrier had done before: It vowed to build America’s first retail cellphone network using airwaves traditionally reserved for orbiting satellites. After a multiyear restructuring during which LightSquared’s owner and top investor — the embattled hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone — stepped aside, the company has re-emerged. It has a new name — Ligado — and even grander ambitions.

If it succeeds, Ligado will be well-positioned to control a massive chunk of the industrial market for connected devices, a market that Morgan Stanley thinks will be worth $110 billion a year by 2020. Ligado is promising not only to build the world’s first wireless network using ground-based airwaves that had long been considered unsuitable for cellular use, but it’s also planning to join that capability with a satellite hovering above North America.


LightSquared/Ligado wants to build a wireless network for drones, trains and automobiles