Wholesale-only nationwide 4G Long-Term Evolution network operator LightSquared asked the Federal Communications Commission to confirm the company’s right to use the spectrum licensed to it by the federal government. In addition, the company asked the FCC to confirm that commercial GPS manufacturers have no right to interference protection from LightSquared’s network since they are not licensed users of that spectrum. The company claims that commercial GPS manufacturers are responsible for having designed and sold unlicensed devices that use spectrum licensed to LightSquared and other companies.
“The one inescapable conclusion from two rounds of independent testing is that the incompatibility problem is not caused by LightSquared’s network,” said LightSquared’s executive vice president for regulatory affairs and public policy Jeff Carlisle. “It is clear that GPS devices are purposefully designed to look into LightSquared’s licensed spectrum, and given this evidence, we believe decision makers should consider LightSquared’s legal rights as the licensee.”
In addition to more than 300 million GPS-enabled cell phones that government testing has confirmed are compatible with LightSquared’s spectrum, the company argued several GPS device manufacturers, including Javad GNSS and Hemisphere, have also successfully developed and tested devices that are also compatible. The company said the development of these LightSquared-compatible GPS devices proves that GPS manufacturers could have designed their equipment to filter out LightSquared’s signals and avoid interference.
“While we ask the FCC today to confirm our legal rights, LightSquared remains fully committed to cooperate with all parties-the GPS industry, GPS users and the federal government-to ensure that LightSquared’s network is deployed in a way that is compatible with GPS users,” said Carlisle. “LightSquared has always recognized the critical importance of the GPS system, and we firmly believe that GPS devices can peacefully co-exist adjacent to our network.”
To encourage private innovation, entrepreneurs must have confidence and certainty over their rights to use spectrum granted by the FCC, said Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared chairman and CEO. He added that the country’s future technological and economic achievements depend on a firm adherence to the rule of law.
“This petition goes to the very core of the FCC’s mission, which is to ensure that the nation’s airwaves are governed by regulatory certainty,” he said. “In the 21st century, the fair and efficient management of the nation’s spectrum will unleash a technological revolution in wireless broadband that will bring untold benefits to all Americans.”
Earlier this year, LightSquared announced that it received $265 million in new funding and plans to use the latest capital injection for general corporate purposes, including the construction of its 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wholesale network. As a wholesale-only operator, LightSquared plans to deploy an open 4G network to be used by existing and new service providers to sell their own devices, applications and services, which the company said it could deliver at a competitive cost and without retail competition from LightSquared. The deployment and operation of the company’s network represent more than $14 billion of private investment over the next eight years.