LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

LightSquared said Tuesday evening that it has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for a ruling on its rights to use L-Band spectrum for its hybrid satellite and terrestrial network and declaring that unlicensed GPS receivers have no right to interference protection.

The filing, which you can read here, states that the FCC has had the GPS industry on notice for eight years that LightSquared -- or its predecessors -- could build a network in the licensed L-Band spectrum. Yet, vendors continued to build GPS devices that look into LightSquared's allocated bandwidth.

Therefore, any interference happening is the GPS industry's fault, because their devices "are purposefully designed to look into LightSquared’s licensed spectrum," said Jeff Carlisle, LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs, in a prepared statement.

"Commercial GPS receivers are not licensed, do not operate under any service rules, and thus are not entitled to any interference protection whatsoever," LightSquared writes in its petition to the agency.

The aggressively worded petition follows a joint statement released Wednesday from the U.S. departments of transportation and defense, which said that tests found that the network could cause "harmful interference to the majority of other tested general purpose GPS receivers."

LightSquared has said that the tests didn't take into account the company's plan to reduce the transmit power of the LTE base stations.

Why this matters
This is lightSquared's most upfront attempt yet to get the FCC to make a concrete decision on its proposed LTE network. The prospects for the network launch have appeared to dim recently after the recent tests and suggestions that the military will have more of a say in the future of the service.

Read more
Keep up with the fast-moving LightSquared space opera below:

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:45:55 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

Why didn't this come up a long time ago? I'd have made this argument first, if I were LightSquared.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:45:54 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

Because, even if they are right, there's millions of consumer-grade GPS receivers already out there. Its shutting the gate after the triangulation horse has already bolted.

clawman 12/5/2012 | 4:45:52 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

It's lights out for Lightsquared.   Here's the problem with their ridiculous argument.   The only license they own and are entitled to is a SATELLITE based network.   The problem is they were greedy and somehow got the FCC to give them a waiver so that they could have a TERRESTRIAL, NOT A SATELLITE NETWORK, all subject to non-interference.

If they had to live with their actual license, not the one they're trying to pretend they are entitled to, they will NOT be able to succeed because they have lied to Wall Street and no one who has a brain would give them one more dime.   They've already fleeced many smart investors.   Those days are over.  Lights out Lightsquared.  

pbutler17 12/5/2012 | 4:45:51 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

A 15-year, $9 billion deal with Sprint (NYSE: S) to set up and run a 4G network. Through the deal, Overland Park-based Sprint would provide service for the young Reston, Va., company to resell. But it hinges on FCC approval. The FCC has been getting an earful from Olathe-based Garmin Ltd.    .Garmin Ltd. Latest from The Business Journals SkillSniper.com technology lets employers search job candidates by skillRetailer of outdoor gear in talks to open store hereLenexa City Councilman will advise FCC on broadband expansion Follow this company .(Nasdaq: GRMN) and others in the industry who say the LightSquared network would interfere with GPS devices.

How does this deal with Satelite Services?  It's Sprints Spectrum and they will build and run it for light squared?

If this goes thru Sprint stock should go up!  Light Squared will give rise to many smaller players in the market and drive down pricing in the next few years!  The FCC should grant it.



joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:45:50 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

It's not Sprint's spectrum its LightSquared that Hesse and Co get to use. Now I did ask LightSquared whether Sprint would end up owning some of that spectrum in 2012. Under the conditions of the deal L2 were supposed to fufil some conditions by the end of this year. But L2 insist that Sprint is ready to work with them in 2012. We'll see...

Duh! 12/5/2012 | 4:45:50 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

I've been curious about one facet of all this, and hope that somebody with expertise can comment.

Europe has mandatory standards for immunity to out-of-band emissions.  I believe that testing and a statement of conformity is required for a CE Mark.  US industry resisted (through their lobbyists) similar FCC rules.

Are precision GPS receivers covered by the EU rules?  If so, are CE Marked devices immune to interference from LightSquared terretrial base stations?  If so, how much of the precision GPS installed base does not have a CE Mark?

Is this a case where under-regulation messed up a market?

larryw408 12/5/2012 | 4:45:49 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

Lights out indeed.

But just for the sake of hilarity, let's assume LS' request is approved and the network deployed.  Can you imagine the ill will LS will generate by killing most GPS systems in NA? And not just the pocket gizmo, the the ones in the dashboard of many newer cars as well.

I sure wouldn't want to be the operator who tells his customers, "Well, yes, our supplier drove you off into the weeds, but we'll sell you high speed wireless broadband to make up for it..."

fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 4:45:44 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

Actually, Clawman, LSQ's license has been for a hybrid satellite-terrestrial network since 2003. They just hasn't put up any ground-based (ATC) transmitters yet.

What changed is that they got permission to use handsets that don't have satellite cpabilities, so the ATC can be the handset's first choice, not fallback.  That makes it economical, as sat phones cost a lot and are bulky.

In the interim, consumer GPS devices have caught on.  Being cost-sensitive CHinese-built junque, they only meet the minimum specs needed to appear to work at time of purchase.  So a selective front end is an additional cost.  Also, some GPSs apparently take advantage of the slight spillover of GPS satellite sidebands into the LSQ upper band.  That's the use of their spectrum that they are apparently talking about.

High-precision GPS is a different animal, a high-cost, low-volume (<1M receivers) that use a precision clock signal from either LSQ low band or InMarSat.  If LSQ goes live on low band (which does not interfere with even crappy GPS), those receivers, when used in an LSQ coverage area, will need to be moved.  Most are rural (mining and agriculture) though, so it's not a day 1 problem.

VZ and ATT are helping drum up opposition to a potential competitor whose wholesale model is particularly threatening.

clawman 12/5/2012 | 4:45:43 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent Fgoldstein, your facts are not accurate. The license they have had is satellite with ANCILLARY terrestrial. What they are trying to do now is to have a terrestrial network. Don't believe me. Ask Sprint, their network provider . That's the scam they don't deserve to get away with. Lightsquared is like MCI was to long distance. We only found out after they destroyed the long distance business that their supposed competitive advantage was a total fraud. Maybe Bernie Ebbers needs a cellmate.
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 4:45:40 PM
re: LightSquared to GPS Industry: Get Bent

How am I not accurate?  The 2003 license was for hybrid use, hence the "ancillary" name.  They have been asking all along to be allowed to use it with non-sat phones, ATC-only, and finally got that permission.

I've seen other cases (not satellite) where the "ancillary" use totally overwhelmed the original use.  Demand evoles.

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