LightSquared Claims High-Precision GPS Fix

LightSquared claims that it has worked up a fix to its GPS problems, thanks to developments from Javad GNSS Inc., but that the testing and resolution of the issues will now be pushed back to Nov. 30. (See LightSquared Unveils Its Solution to GPS.)

LightSquared said Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with Javad to develop a system that will eliminate related interference issues for high-precision GPS devices. LightSquared EVP of Ecosystem Development and Satellite Business Martin Harriman said on a call Wednesday that a working prototype is up and running now and units will be available "in four weeks for testing."

"This is a big, big step for us," he said on the call. (See LightSquared CEO: Stop Using Us as a Pinata.)

To develop the technology, Javad took the existing flagship receivers and reconfigured the filters and linear amplifiers to make them completely compatible with LightSquared’s bottom 10 MHz of L-band spectrum. LightSquared describes it as a simple and inexpensive process.

It is still hard, however, for the operator to put a number on how many GPS receivers will need to get the fix and how much it will cost. Harriman was asked repeatedly about these issues on the call and said that it was hard to know exactly how many federal -- often, military -- receivers are located near to its proposed network.

He believes, however, that the number of precision receivers affected will be "in the low tens of thousands."

LightSquared and Javad also can't pin down exactly what will be needed to fix these receivers: a filter, a retro-fit or a new receiver altogether.

"We will be working hard to develop a retrograde solution, but it ain’t going to work for everything," says Harriman.

The Coalition to Save Our GPS is unimpressed by the new LightSquared claims. The group says that the estimated 750,000 to a million high-precision receivers in use today don't present an easy installed base to fix.

"LightSquared has, as usual, oversimplified and greatly overstated the significance of the claims of a single vendor to have 'solved' the interference issue," the GPS group says in a statement. "There have been many vendor claims that have not proven out in rigorous tests and the demanding tests of marketplace acceptance."

For his part, Harriman stepped away from previous claims that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will offer up a decision on the GPS issue this month. He now expects FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) testing to continue until Nov. 30. (See LightSquared Claims GPS Solution Coming Soon.)

Harriman also wouldn't touch how the continuing delays might impact its deal with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). "I’d rather not comment on that; I'm not qualified to talk about that on behalf of the company," he said. (See Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

cisneros 12/5/2012 | 4:52:54 PM
re: LightSquared Claims High-Precision GPS Fix

Now JAVAD can recall all its legacy receivers and charge the retrofit to LS....

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