Ligado sues US government for using its licensed 5G spectrum

October 25, 2023  - By

Ligado Networks has sued the U.S. federal government for $39 billion, alleging officials at the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) misappropriated Ligado’s exclusively licensed L-band spectrum to support secret DoD systems without permission or compensation. 

“The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims against the United States, the Defense Department, the Commerce Department and NTIA, seeks just compensation for the government’s physical, categorical, regulatory and legislative takings of Ligado’s property,” the company said in a press release. 

According to the company’s lawsuit, the DoD embarked on a “misinformation and disparagement campaign” against Ligado starting shortly after the company received its FCC approvals in 2020. That campaign, according to the lawsuit, sought to revive concerns that Ligado’s 5G plans would interfere with GPS services. 

Ligado alleges the DoD’s claims about spectrum interference “are a pretext” to conceal secret Pentagon systems that depend on Ligado’s spectrum. 

The company claims multiple former and current senior government officials have acknowledged the DoD wants Ligado’s spectrum for its own, undisclosed purposes, and that the DoD’s activities cannot co-exist with Ligado’s authorized use of its spectrum. 

“High ranking U.S. government officials have acted deliberately to deprive an American company of its rightfully licensed property,” said Ivan Seidenberg, chairman of Ligado’s board of managers. 

Its complaint states the DoD, U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have deprived Ligado of all the economic benefits it could have expected from using and developing its exclusively allocated and licensed spectrum for terrestrial services. 

Ligado is asking the court for “just compensation in an amount to be determined at trial for its past, present, and future taking of Ligado’s rights.”