Viasat to enter direct-to-device market with Ligado Networks

TAMPA, Fla. — Viasat stated March 2 it’s partnering with Ligado Networks to interrupt into the rising marketplace for offering satellite tv for pc providers on to shopper smartphones and different units.

Whereas Viasat is finest recognized for satellites that present broadband in Ka-band spectrum, the operator has used L-band from Ligado’s SkyTerra-1 geostationary satellite tv for pc since 2014 to ship much less bandwidth-heavy providers over North America. 

These cellular satellite tv for pc providers embrace connectivity for monitoring and monitoring Web of Issues (IoT) units and different machines requiring exterior antennas.

By additionally partnering with San Francisco-based enterprise Skylo on SkyTerra-1, which has developed know-how enabling normal shopper units to attach with geostationary satellites, the operators plan to broaden these providers throughout the “shopper smartphone, automotive, and protection” markets.

“We’re planning to help providers within the coming months,” a Viasat spokesperson instructed SpaceNews

“The SkyTerra MSS satellite tv for pc is in service and able to go, as is the Skylo platform. The subsequent step is to combine the 2 in order that we are able to conduct testing over the air and to begin supporting the service to make sure that the end-to-end answer is optimized and commercially able to go.”

As with the Globalstar-enabled SOS characteristic Apple launched in November for its newest iPhone, and the capabilities different operators plan to launch in 2023, these providers will initially be restricted to low-bandwidth purposes akin to easy two-way messaging.

“The companions intention to carry smartphone messaging, wearable connectivity, and IoT providers enabling mobile units to attach seamlessly by way of satellite tv for pc quickly to a number of the world’s most tasty markets,” Viasat, Ligado, and Skylo stated in a joint information launch.

“Long term, we imagine space-based networks might help scale these purposes by considerably growing community knowledge charges and capability; growing service comfort and availability; and lowering prices,” Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg stated in an accompanying assertion.

The businesses didn’t present extra particulars concerning the non-binding Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) they’ve signed with one another.

They don’t seem to cowl the MSAT-2 satellite tv for pc that Ligado primarily operates as a backup for SkyTerra-1.

Ligado additionally has a 3rd satellite tv for pc known as SkyTerra-2, a duplicate of SkyTerra-1, which is totally constructed however stays in storage for future industrial providers.

Dankberg stated Feb. 8 that Viasat is contemplating direct-to-smartphone providers utilizing satellites in geostationary and non-geostationary orbits.

The U.S.-based operator hopes the partnership with Ligado and Skylo will jumpstart its entry into the direct-to-device market because it seeks to broaden its satellite tv for pc connectivity providers globally with its upcoming ViaSat-3 constellation and plans to purchase Inmarsat of the UK.

Viasat is working through regulatory approvals to purchase Inmarsat, which has a world constellation of geostationary L-band satellites and is contemplating plans for LEO.

British ruggedized handset maker Bullitt recently unveiled Android smartphones that may hook up with L-band satellites operated by Inmarsat, and different geostationary operators, in partnership with Skylo and Taiwanese chipmaker MediaTek.

Inmarsat additionally leases L-band spectrum to Ligado. Inmarsat launched legal action against Ligado Dec. 15 over missed funds below this contract; nonetheless, it withdrew the lawsuit simply weeks later for causes it didn’t disclose.

Ligado’s cost points got here after plans to place its L-band spectrum into use terrestrially for a 5G community in the USA had been placed on maintain following issues it may disrupt GPS techniques.

Ligado announced Feb. 23 it’s pooling its satellite tv for pc spectrum with Omnispace, a startup creating plans for a world non-geostationary connectivity constellation utilizing S-band spectrum, to focus on direct-to-smartphone alternatives particularly. 


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