A convenient coincidence?

Posted in Financials, LightSquared, Operators, Regulatory, Spectrum, TerreStar at 11:28 am by timfarrar

Its now being reported that LightSquared plans to ask the FCC for an extension of today’s deadline for submitting its report on GPS interference until July 1, as the company is apparently claiming that “all the information required for the report had not yet been submitted”.

However, the supposed new target date of July 1 conveniently just happens to be the day after the rescheduled June 30 auction for TerreStar Networks. It seems a huge stretch to imagine that this is purely a coincidence, when DISH blocked Harbinger’s attempts to secure access to the TerreStar spectrum last night, which I understand was the cornerstone of Harbinger’s planned “2GHz first” strategy, that first emerged back in March. Its also pretty hard to explain why it would take another two weeks simply to compile the report, given that the tests were apparently completed a couple of weeks ago.

UPDATE: One reason unrelated to TerreStar is that it could be fairly convenient for LightSquared to bury the report on the Friday of a holiday weekend.

Now the question is whether the GPS industry (who want LightSquared to move to different spectrum although perhaps did not expect that to actually happen) and the FCC will play ball and allow the deadline to be postponed. If that happens then Harbinger will have two weeks to either put together a superior bid (presumably with MetroPCS) for TerreStar, or to strike a network sharing deal with Sprint (if today’s first lien debt amendment proves sufficient to persuade Sprint that they have adequate security). Depending on which path proves successful (if indeed either one does), LightSquared will then know if it can propose using 2GHz spectrum initially, or if it will need to try and defend its L-band spectrum rights to the death.

UPDATE: LightSquared has filed the request for an extension until July 1, which has been granted almost immediately by the FCC. I am told that other members of the Working Group (with the exception of Sprint) opposed LightSquared’s request for an extension, and a filing to this effect has now appeared in the IB docket. Today the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council (NPSTC) also filed comments detailing their portion of the test results, noting that some public safety applications would see “vast service outages” and suggesting use of the 2GHz MSS spectrum for downlinks paired with L-band uplinks as one (albeit somewhat impractical) alternative to prevent interference.


  1. spectrum said,

    June 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Did FCC grant extension to Lightsquare or what is an update on today’ meeting between FCC and Lightsquare.

  2. sandy_s157 said,

    June 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I am not sure if they can use 2 different bands (one for uplink and other for downlink) from different spectrums. This I believe will add to the receiver complexity and cost.

  3. spectrum said,

    June 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Tim,
    what do you think Harbinger plan now since he got 2 weeks extension. Will he bid for TSN…since the bid deadline has now been extended to 27 June…
    thanks a lot for your reply…

  4. timfarrar said,

    June 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Harbinger is undoubtedly exploring all options to ensure they have spectrum to move forward, and TerreStar’s spectrum would be one of those options. However, it is clear that Harbinger do not have the money to buy this spectrum on their own, and would need partners to provide much of the upfront cash for a TSN bid.

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