LightSquared CEO: Stop Using Us as a Pinata

Sanjiv Ahuja, CEO of LightSquared , got into the ring Thursday night, claiming that his company will create up to 15,000 jobs and pooh-poohing claims of political and regulatory favoritism for the would-be Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator.

"Special interests are trying to distract attention from the facts," the CEO claims in the statement.

His argument can be boiled down to a few salient points:

  • LightSquared has spent eight years working through the regulatory process, gaining bipartisan support from both Bush- and Obama-appointed officials during that time.
  • Technical fixes to the GPS issues are available to the receiver industry, but some don't want to deal with the engineering and would rather "squat" on spectrum "for free."
  • It is "ludicrous" to suggest LightSquared's success depends on political connections.

In fact, Ahuja reveals interesting details about the contributions that LightSquared has given both political parties:

    This is a private company that has never taken one dollar in taxpayer money. About $10,600 sits in the LightSquared PAC. The founder of LightSquared has given to candidates in both political parties in the last eight years, with two thirds of his contributions going to Republicans because of the founder's free market philosophy. I gave $30,400 in contributions to both parties in late 2010. It's difficult to charge that LightSquared has undue political influence when it was denied the opportunity to testify at today's hearing of the House Armed Service Committee's Strategic Forces Subcommittee -- or even be allowed a one-on-one meeting with the chairman of that committee prior to the hearing, as the GPS industry was given.

The CEO's comments come after the government has called for another round of testing for LightSquared's hybrid satellite and terrestrial LTE network. LightSquared's executive vice president, Martin Harriman, said this week that the firm expects a final decision on the GPS issue this month. (See LightSquared Claims GPS Solution Coming Soon.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:53:30 PM
re: LightSquared CEO: Stop Using Us as a Pinata

stop filling yourself with candy and hanging from a tree.

larryw408 12/5/2012 | 4:53:26 PM
re: LightSquared CEO: Stop Using Us as a Pinata

The issue is not the CEO or founder, but LightSquared's billionaire backer Philip Falcone, a front line donor to Obama's Democratic party.  Falcone's Harbinger Capital Partners has a lot invested in LightSquared with abig chunk of his hedge fund's portfolio riding on it.

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