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LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
3/29/2012

LightSquared 's chairman and former CEO told an audience at the Rural Cellular Association Thursday that there is "too much at stake" for its bid to offer spectrum for 4G wholesale users to fail.

"LightSquared is not going to go away; we're going to continue to fight," LightSquared's Sanjiv Ahuja told the crowd at the Orlando, Fla., event, streamed live by RCR Wireless.

LightSquared's bid to offer a nationwide 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) for wholesale customers was shut down recently by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because of interference issues in tests between L-Band base stations and GPS equipment. (See LightSquared CEO Calls FCC 'Irresponsible'.) The key reason Ahuja said the industry needs LightSquared is that without the L-Band and other spectrum initiatives, U.S. wireless operators -- especially the smaller ones -- are likely to run out of road within a few years because of the massive increase in data usage. "We're on track to run out of network capacity in a couple of years," Ahuja claimed.

Some of these comments were echoed by Cricket Communications Inc. and others at this show of operators, which basically now includes every U.S. wireless carrier except AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless . (See Cricket Wants to Chirp on Other 4G Networks.) "I don't need to preach at this audience that the dominant duopoly limits competition," Ahuja said.

The defiant keynote, however, was short on detail on what LightSquared might actually do to get the FCC's decision reversed and its LTE network back on track. A public comment period on the carrier's petition about its rights to use the spectrum licensed to it is due to close Friday. (See Public Sucked Into LightSquared Squabble .)

For more

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:37:44 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


Given that all the RCA speakers called out a wireless duopoly: Is there anyway to break "The Bell's" dominant position?

DCITDave
DCITDave
12/5/2012 | 5:37:39 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


Probably not. But perhaps some competitors can compete with better customer service and more reasonable (and easy to understand) data plans. Given that in most cities, basic cell service and coverage is stlll awful, the network is not as much of a differentiator as it probably should be.

Flook
Flook
12/5/2012 | 5:37:38 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


Couldn't agree more with Phil Harvey's post--straightforward data plans and top-notch customer service.


 


Liked the term "the Bells"--first there were about 2 dozen of them, and now are two. And just like the former Bells, ATT and VZ have a near lock on the market. You gotta love competition.

kaps
kaps
12/5/2012 | 5:37:35 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


What about the great google gigabit network? Couldn't local operators conceivably set up local Wi-Fi clouds using the googlenet as a backbone... why do all these plays have to be national, facilities-based networks?


I mean, it's great to see wholesalers figuring out that Clearwire is sitting on tons of spectrum and to see things like FreedomPop but -- can't wireless start local?

kaps
kaps
12/5/2012 | 5:37:35 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


What about the great google gigabit network? Couldn't local operators conceivably set up local Wi-Fi clouds using the googlenet as a backbone... why do all these plays have to be national, facilities-based networks?


I mean, it's great to see wholesalers figuring out that Clearwire is sitting on tons of spectrum and to see things like FreedomPop but -- can't wireless start local?

AESerm
AESerm
12/5/2012 | 5:37:34 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


What any competitor also needs is spectrum and the permission to use it. Absent any auction (yet) of the b'cast spectrum, the only game is using satellite bands for terrestrial service. That hasn't worked out so well yet for LightSquared, because of GPS interference issues, an point some still want to debate. Dish is trying too. As the FCC continues to grant waivers, it is in effect changing the rules governing the terrestrial use of that spectrum. Some mobile satellite service (MSS) operators have faithfully followed those rules; other players want to see an expliciit change.

paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 5:37:33 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


Would it not be simpler to put T-mobile and Sprint together?


seven


 

AESerm
AESerm
12/5/2012 | 5:37:33 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


Good point, Kaps. Then there's WiFi. Apart from Google, there's the idea of MSOs deploying a gazillion APs interconnected across their metro and backbone networks.

AESerm
AESerm
12/5/2012 | 5:37:31 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


And maybe add Clear to the mix? As noted by this commentator (who also owns some CLWR shares.)

joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:37:28 PM
re: LightSquared: Too Important to Fail?


God no, look at what Sprint is spending to bring together its different networks now. Add in T-Mobile and you have a massive task trying to get everyone supported on GSM/CDMA/LTE on multiple frequencies in the future. Sounds like a nightmare and not something that Sprint has proved itself good at yet.

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