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Lights! Satellite! Action! LightSquared Is Back

Dan Jones

What's that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it's a reconstituted LightSquared!

Yes folks, it's a Christmas miracle, of sorts. The beleaguered would-be 4G-from-space service provider LightSquared has risen again after three-and-a-half years in Chapter 11, with new backers on board.

CEO Doug Smith, who was appointed in 2012, proclaims that it is a "new day" for the company, which he says has "significant capital funding and highly valuable telecommunications assets."

Certainly the would-be operator's list of new backers is impressive, as it includes Centerbridge Partners, Fortress Credit Opportunities Advisors and JPMorgan Chase & Co. New on LightSquared's board are former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) head Reed Hundt and former Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Ivan Seidenberg.

For more on mobile, visit the dedicated section here on Light Reading.

So what is LightSquared, and why should you give a flying festive fig? The company, founded by Harbinger Capital Partners LP 's Philip Falcone in 2010, received over $2.3 billion debt and equity funding, to put up a terrestrial 4G LTE network in the US with coverage gaps and hard-to-wire places getting filled in by LightSquared's satellite service.

There was just one little problem: The L-Band spectrum (1-2GHz) that LightSquared planned to use for its LTE network was found to interfere with GPS receivers by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) . The FCC shut down plans for the LTE network in February 2012 and everything went south from there.

CEO Smith hasn't laid out exactly what the company plans to do next. But the company has now settled its long-term lawsuit with GPS maker Trimble (Nasdaq: TRMB), The Wall Street Journal reports.

That doesn't mean, however, that all is quite smooth sailing yet. "We are committed to achieving compromise and working with the GPS community -- including the provision of increased protections for the industry -- to ensure GPS and wireless broadband can co-exist," Smith notes in the company's revival blog.

So there is still work to be done before LightSquared is to get back on the wireless broadband bandwagon.

Related posts:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
12/17/2015 | 12:41:31 AM
Re: Not good
My bet is that they will try and sell the spectrum to the highest bidder.
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/16/2015 | 8:40:32 PM
Not good
It's never good to have a technology provider have so many problems even before launching a product or service. 

That's what is making me wary of LightSquared. I'm not optimistic they can overcome some of the challenges that they are facing. 
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