FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that it will block LightSquared 's plans to launch an Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the L-Band because of concerns about interference with existing satellite positioning services.

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:

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:42:18 PM
re: FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

Right now would not be the time to buy Dish.  After the FCC says no, the stock price will be less.  The next question is, what could AT&T do with the spectrum if the FCC said no though?


I would expect AT&T to actually know if there would be any issues with the spectrum and the neighboring bands though.  Even the RF engineers at LightSquared had to know that GPS was always going to be impacted.  It was management that wasn't listening.  If the RF engineers at LightSquared didn't know, then they were incompetent.

VoiceOnTelecom 12/5/2012 | 5:42:22 PM
re: FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

And there is all this talk about AT&T buying Dish.  But maybe that is the end game - AT&T picks it all up in the end ..

krishanguru143 12/5/2012 | 5:42:27 PM
re: FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

Will Dish even bother asking now?  If the FCC allows it, it just adds fuel to the fire LightSquared has lit.  While LS had a conditional waiver, they never saw it that way.

VoiceOnTelecom 12/5/2012 | 5:42:30 PM
re: FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

While Clearwire might pick up some of LightSquared's customers, it won't get all.  And the fact that LightSquared picked up so many interesting, and varied, partners shows a space for this business model, as communication spreads to the BestBuys and hyper-local players of the world.  At the very least, it should give operators a direction to follow.


joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:42:30 PM
re: FCC Moves to Block LightSquared

Dish seems like the closest fit. But they still have to get permission from the FCC. Ah fickle spectrum!

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