12.09.10

LightSquared garners support for its new business plan

Posted in LightSquared, Operators, Regulatory, Spectrum at 4:01 pm by timfarrar

A host of comments have now been filed with the FCC in response to LightSquared’s recent updates to its ATC business plan. These include supportive comments from numerous individuals and “public interest organizations“, plus notably a comment from T-Mobile, which also urges the Commission to rule on LightSquared’s application expeditiously, rather than deferring it to a more general proceeding.

LightSquared itself filed reply comments, justifying its showing of “integrated service”, although it is pretty easy to identify areas where LightSquared has carefully skated around the issue. For example, LightSquared argues that its arrangement with Qualcomm “eliminates price as a factor for end users deciding whether to use dual-mode handsets”, although of course if a handset designer can leave out the satellite functionality (especially if it would need a relatively large internal antenna similar to that inside the Genus phone) then the handset could be smaller and more attractive to end users (as Leap Wireless and others have argued in the NPRM/NOI proceeding).

It now seems that the FCC has a decision to make in the very near term, about whether to approve the modification request and potentially help Harbinger move forward with potential deals such as that apparently envisaged with Leap Wireless, or to delay approval and potentially risk the future of LightSquared and Harbinger. Certainly Harbinger appears to be under considerable pressure from the recent LightSquared satellite antenna failure, and continued scrutiny in the press, and at the end of this month, Harbinger’s investors will have to decide whether or not to follow through with their redemption requests. LightSquared will presumably also have to pay over $100M to Boeing on account of its payment deferrals in the next week or two, and exercise its Phase 2 option with Inmarsat which was promised by the end of the year.

1 Comment »

  1. ORBITRAX said,

    December 10, 2010 at 9:06 am

    Interesting to note that a “minor modification” provided in a “Public Notice” under highly truncated timelines generated over 20 Reply Comments from the Public Sector. While comments for the Flexibility NPRM which was provided a non-truncated comment period and published in the National Register received only 2.

    Also interesting that the “Blue Sky” filing which injected that LightSquared “antenna anomaly” into the record, has to this point. Been omitted from the record.

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