NEWS ANALYSIS: LightSquared and Sprint agree to pull back on expenses and stop deployment of LightSquared terrestrial network.
has quietly put plans to deploy LightSquared's terrestrial Long-Term Evolution
(LTE) network on hold until the Reston, Va., company finds a way to work past a
series of regulatory roadblocks. Originally, Sprint agreed to provide tower
space or to build new infrastructure in support of LightSquared's wholesale 4G
mobile data delivery service, assuming that LightSquared was able to get
regulatory approval by the end of January 2012.
that original deadline, Sprint has extended the date twice so that LightSquared
now has until mid-March to get regulatory approval to build its network, or the
deal is off. However, Sprint, is seeing the writing on the wall, and
LightSquared, which was already running out of money, put the brakes on.
and LightSquared jointly decided to pull back on expenses and stop new deployment
design and implementation of LightSquared's network," Sprint spokesman
Scott Sloat told eWEEK.
Sloat said that all work on
LightSquared's network has been halted.
current schedule leaves little time for LightSquared to obtain regulatory approval
as required by the arrangement with Sprint. The Federal
Communications Commission formally requested comments
on the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) findings that the LightSquared
proposed solution produces unacceptable levels of interference to GPS that cannot
be fixed. This vacates the conditional waiver that LightSquared had been
granted and suspends its right to operate.
comments must be submitted by March 1, after which the FCC will reach a final
decision. LightSquared has the right to protest the FCC decision, but in any
case, the regulatory approval won't be forthcoming by mid-March 2012.
LightSquared's troubles keep piling up. The
company missed a Feb. 20 payment to Inmarsat
, resulting in a notice of
default. This default simply adds to LightSquared's
, essentially making the company's end a matter of when,
rather than if.
Sprint hasn't pulled the plug on LightSquared just yet, it's not clear that it
plans to continue to support the company in its efforts, especially after the
last deadline passes. A Sprint spokesman declined to comment on any specifics.
has already stopped work on LightSquard's network, LightSquared is running out
of money, and a reversal of the FCC decision to terminate the company's 4G LTE
plan is unlikely because of the interference with GPS.
regardless of LightSquared's claims that it should have precedence over GPS,
the FCC isn't politically tone deaf, and it's not going to enrage tens of
millions of GPS users just to placate LightSquared.
LightSquared does have a chance to field its network if it plays its cards