Wednesday, February 15, 2012

FCC revocation of LightSquared waiver would hurt Sprint, too

It appears that the FCC has dealt LightSquared's wireless plans a death blow, as the agency on Tuesday said it would rescind a waiver it gave the company to run its wireless network, citing interference with GPS systems. LightSquared, last month, claimed the tests were rigged.
LightSquared's wireless spectrum lay close to the frequency spectrum of GPS bands, which led to concerns over possible interference. In one test, LightSquared's signals interfered with 75 percent of GPS navigation devices. On Tuesday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration told the FCC that there was no way to solve the interference problem, at least for now.

With that, LightSquared's planned 4G LTE network now appears dead. It might have had a significant impact on the wireless industry if it had gone forward, as the company planned to work as a neutral wholesaler of wireless service, allowing any company which wanted to offer wireless service or to connect a gadget to wireless (the Kindle would be a good example, although uses AT&T) to go to LightSquared. - Unmask Blocked Calls
LightSquared isn't the only company that will be hurt by the FCC's waiver revocation: Sprint will, as well. Sprint will have to return $65 million to LightSquared if the the company fails to get final FCC approval by a mid-March deadline between the two companies, which appears to be an unlikely possibility.

LightSquared made the payments to Sprint last year as part of the companies' 15-year partnership agreement. The partnership would have helped Sprint advance its plans to switch its 4G service from WiMax to LTE, but would also have shared the caused of infrastructure buildout between the pair.

The FCC said it will accept public comments on its LightSquared revocation plans until March 1.

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