LightSquared Gets 30-Day Reprieve as it Seeks FCC Approval

Ryan Whitwam

LTE wholesaler LightSquared is breathing a little easier today as its someday business partner Sprint has granted it a 30-day deadline extension. By that time, LightSquared hopes to finally have FCC approval to run its 4G LTE network in the US. Sprint announced the partnership last summer, but since then, GPS makers have been frighting back. They claim that LightSquared signals will interfere with nearly all available GPS receivers.

LightSquared has a license to use a swath of spectrum in the 1600MHz band for mobile data. That spectrum is adjacent to the GPS frequencies. As it turns out, all GPS receivers are built to do very little filtering due to the weakness of GPS signals. Manufacturers simply never planned for a terrestrial radio source to be so close to GPS. LightSquared and the GPS industry differ on how severe the interference will be, and the FCC is now on the spot.

If regulators can give LightSquared the go-ahead in time, Sprint will enter into a 15-year deal to add 1600MHz to its existing 1900/800MHz holdings for LTE deployment. If not, things are going to be a little more rough for everyone involved.

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