11.10.11

A watershed moment?

Posted in Financials, LightSquared, Operators, Regulatory, Spectrum at 10:07 am by timfarrar

So apparently yesterday’s PNT Advisory Board meeting was “a watershed moment” for LightSquared, because “the GPS interference issue can be solved” and “the entire debate has turned from whether there is a solution to who pays for it”. Of course, that’s a massive oversimplification of reality, because as the introductory presentation to the meeting set forth, there are vast amounts of testing still to perform. In particular, the latest PNT newsletter has confirmed that LightSquared’s proposed solution for precision devices will not be tested until at least “early 2012″.

However, what no-one seems to have picked up on is that in LightSquared’s semi-annual progress report, filed with the FCC on October 31, the company confirmed that it is ignoring the FCC mandated timeline (from the January 2011 waiver) to make devices available by September 30, 2011 and now has postponed the anticipated availability of “embedded modules, USB data modems and other devices” from BandRich and AnyData until “late 2012″. While LightSquared still expects Qualcomm to make chipsets available in “late 2011″ that could “facilitate access to LightSquared’s network” there is no associated commitment to actually make devices. Though Sharp and Airtouch “have agreed” to develop a range of devices, there is apparently no timeline for this to take place (indeed Sharp has stated publicly that it “would need a minimum purchase order before it would build such devices”). Basically, therefore it appears there will now be no devices capable of accessing LightSquared’s network for at least a year or more, making LightSquared’s continued assertions that it will launch service in the “second half of 2012″ even more laughable than they already were.

More importantly, if testing of LightSquared devices is also a pre-requisite for FCC approval, as the PNT Advisory Board apparently desires, then it now seems that this will not be possible for many months to come. Of course, this gives the FCC yet another excuse to hold off from making any ruling on the LightSquared issue, even to ban terrestrial deployment in the upper 10MHz band which everyone knows can never be used, because that will simply provide LightSquared with the excuse it is looking for to initiate litigation over the supposed expropriation of “part of LightSquared’s spectrum – worth billions of dollars”.

1 Comment »

  1. TMF Associates MSS blog » LS in Wonderland said,

    November 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    [...] FCC (or even an end to the testing, which can be prolonged almost indefinitely if the government insists on testing LightSquared devices as well – indeed the FAA presented a timeline yesterday with potentially multiple stages of further [...]

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