For those of you not following my Twitter feed (@TMFAssociates), last week there were a couple of interesting developments related to Globalstar, which is currently negotiating with its noteholders under a forbearance agreement (lasting until April 15), after holders of $70.6M of the 5.75% notes exercised their rights to require repurchase of the notes, and Globalstar did not pay the $2M of interest due on April 1.
Firstly, Globalstar has been granted received approval from the FCC for the experimental authority it was seeking for tests of its proposed S-band TLPS service, on March 25 for testing in Cambridge, MA and on April 1 (no joke) for testing in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, CA. Globalstar has also told the FCC that it intends to submit further experimental applications “in the near future”. However, the authorizations are for testing only and are “subject to prior coordination with the Society of Broadcast Engineers”, because both locations are within BAS Channel A10 pickup areas. This coordination has apparently not yet taken place, and because the BAS community is rumored to be very unhappy with the situation, it could take some time to reach an agreement. The timeline for the FCC to issue an NPRM setting out the proposed rule changes to permit commercial use of TLPS also remains unclear, but it seems to be taking longer than originally hoped.
A second recent development is that last week AT&T notified the (less than 1000) subscribers to the TerreStar Satellite Augmented Mobility (SAM) service, that DISH has decided to shut down the service effective May 1, via the letter below, and has “made an arrangement with Globalstar” to offer a discounted replacement rate plan and Globalstar satellite phone.
Of course, those with long memories will recall that TerreStar Networks filed for bankruptcy in October 2010, less than a month after AT&T started selling the Genus phone. Given Globalstar’s current financial challenges, let’s hope that AT&T’s decision to start selling Globalstar service now is not a bad omen for the company.