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May 18, 2011
AMSTERDAM -- LTE World Summit 2011 -- LightSquared now plans to launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services early next year and will start large-scale field trials in the third quarter this year, according to a senior executive speaking here on Wednesday at the LTE World Summit conference in Amsterdam.
Martin Harriman, executive vice president of LightSquared, told Light Reading Mobile that the company was rolling out the network now and that the first base stations were being installed in Las Vegas "as we speak."
The startup wholesale U.S. LTE operator plans to conduct field trials in the third and fourth quarter this year in Baltimore, Las Vegas and Phoenix, according to Harriman.
But a "full-blown commercial" launch is scheduled for early next year, he said. The company had previously said that it would launch initial commercial markets by the end of this year.
Before LightSquared can officially launch its network and wholesale services, the company must resolve any interference problems caused on GPS networks. A GPS interference test is now underway in Nevada, and Harriman said those tests are "going well," but did not provide further detail.
The deadline for evaluating the GPS interference test results is June 15, when the level of interference be determined and mitigation techniques agreed upon.
Why this matters
Whether LightSquared can hit its commercial service launch target of early 2012 hinges on how and when the operator can resolve any GPS interference issues.
LightSquared is one of the industry's most watched LTE operators because of its potentially disruptive wholesale model in the U.S. market.
LightSquared: GPS Issues Won't Stall Launch
LightSquared Confident in Q3 Launch Schedule
Pentagon Calls Interference on LightSquared
LightSquared Files First Report to FCC
Harbinger Hatches LTE Challenger in US
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile
Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry for the last 20 years on both sides of the Pond. Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and, most recently, Light Reading.
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