The regulator's move follows a recommendation from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to the FCC on Tuesday. LightSquared has strongly protested the NTIA's interpretation of November test data, calling the metrics "flawed" and the devices used "obsolete."
The FCC opened a public comment period in late January on LightSquared's petition asking about its rights to use its licensed spectrum. Comments are due by Feb. 27, with follow-ups in March.
The operator has said that it "fully expects" the agency to recognize LightSquared's legal rights to build its proposed $14 billion, privately financed network.
The FCC originally modified LightSquared's waiver so it could build a terrestrial 4G network using L-Band spectrum, which is adjacent to the frequencies used by GPS receivers for triangulating satellite positioning signals from space, in March 2010. The language in the waiver, however, said that approval was always contingent on coexistence with GPS.
After a year-long war of words involving the GPS industry and other government agencies, the FCC has decided to block the plan.
Why this matters The FCC decision could leave Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and the many other smaller operators and companies that had signed up for wholesale service from LightSquared with few options for developing a 4G strategy. On Tuesday, erstwhile LightSquared partner FreedomPop showed the route that many others will take, signing up for Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR)'s network.
For more Light Reading Mobile has followed LightSquared's regulatory ride since it got bumpy:
- FreedomPop Bets on 4G With Clearwire
- NTIA Kicks LightSquared While It's Down
- Public Sucked Into LightSquared Squabble
- LightSquared's War of Words
- LightSquared Calls GPS Tests 'Rigged'
- Government Agencies Blast LightSquared
- Sprint Gives LightSquared 30-Day Extension
- 2011 Top Ten: LightSquared in the Limelight
- LightSquared Files GPS-Test Data
- LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent
- NDAA Bill Would Let Military Block LightSquared
- Sprint's $13.5B Jump to LTE With LightSquared
- LightSquared Plans LTE Launch Next Year
- LightSquared 'Confident' of FCC Approval in 2012
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile