March 11, 2021
A number of analysts have speculated that Verizon will purchase Ligado's L-band spectrum in order to flesh out uplink connections in the 5G network Verizon is constructing in the C-band spectrum it acquired in an auction.
But a top Verizon networking executive said that won't be necessary.
"You're going to look at how your network is constructed to determine whether you need to augment your downlink bandwidth with something different on the uplink," Verizon SVP Adam Koeppe told Light Reading. "We don't necessarily see any need to do that because we have a site density across our footprint that's going to support a straight-up deployment of C-band for both uplink and downlink. So it's a configuration that can be utilized if needed in parts of the network, but it doesn't have an applicability for us right now with our C-band deployments."
And Koeppe specifically addressed the question of whether Verizon wanted Ligado's L-band spectrum for uplink connections.
"They've been peddling that asset for quite some time and nobody has pursued it, which speaks for itself," he said.
Koeppe's comments fly in the face of recent speculation that Verizon might be interested in purchasing Ligado and its 40MHz of spectrum in the 1600MHz L-band, holdings that gained significantly more attention after the FCC twice voted in recent months to allow Ligado to conduct 5G operations as well as satellite communications in the band. Indeed, Ligado counts Verizon's former chairman Ivan Seidenberg as the chairman of its board of directors.
"We continue to receive consistent and new incremental feedback from engineers about how supplemental uplink would speed the buildout of C-band spectrum and reduce the overall network density required to enable these higher C-Band frequencies. Investors should press Verizon on this very real issue," argued the financial analysts at LightShed Partners in a recent note to investors, pointing to Ligado's potential role in the topic.
"We have argued that the L-band is a valuable compliment to a carrier's C-band holdings," wrote the financial analysts at New Street Research in a recent note to investors. "Ligado could easily enter into a lease for the L-band that would have minimal impact on near-term cash flows and no impact on leverage."
However, Ligado still finds interest at AT&T, which also purchased substantial C-band holdings.
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