LightSquared says GPS fix will cost $50-$300

The carrier is offering to cover the cost of fixing all federally-owned precision GPS gear

Satellite-4G carrier LightSquared said Wednesday that gear to prevent interference between its network and precision GPS gear will cost US$50 to $300 per device and it is in talks with the U.S. government about covering the cost of upgrading or replacing all federally-owned devices.

LightSquared said the total cost for the government gear would be in the tens of millions of dollars, but declined to be more specific because it does not yet know how many precision GPS devices the government owns or what kinds of devices they are.

The company isn't planning to pay for the replacement or retrofitting of GPS gear used by private companies, said Terry Neal, LightSquared's senior vice president of communications. "We have not made an offer to swap out all the devices in the known universe." But he said users would not face an "onerous cost" to solve the problem.

LightSquared discussed the figures in a conference call on Wednesday afternoon following its announcement earlier in the day that it has receiver technology that can solve the interference problem between LightSquared's network and precision GPS. In the original announcement, the carrier had not specified a cost for the solution.

Tests have shown interference between GPS and the LTE (Long Term Evolution) network that LightSquared wants to operate on frequencies that are now devoted to satellite services. The U.S. Federal Communication Commission has said it will not approve the network unless the interference problems can be solved.

For now, LightSquared has dropped plans to use an upper portion of the spectrum band where the network could affect millions of consumer, aviation and other GPS devices. But it still wants to use a lower set of frequencies where its network would affect precision GPS. That technology is used mostly in agriculture, construction and surveying, according to LightSquared. The new technology would solve all or nearly all of the problems in that band, Neal said.

The federal government probably has tens of thousands of precision GPS receivers, most of them used in surveying by agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers, though there may be military uses as well, Neal said.

The Coalition to Save Our GPS, an industry group that fiercely opposes LightSquared's plan, estimates there are between 750,000 and 1 million precision GPS devices in use by government and the private sector.

Earlier on Wednesday, the group slammed LightSquared's claim that it has a way to stop interference with precision GPS.

"LightSquared has, as usual, oversimplified and greatly overstated the significance of the claims of a single vendor to have 'solved' the interference issue," the group said in a statement. No one product can solve interference for the wide range of applications of precision GPS, which include aviation and life-safety operations, it said.

"If and when solutions are available, LightSquared must accept responsibility for paying to replace the existing base of existing equipment with new products," the Coalition said. Coalition officials were not immediately available to comment on LightSquared's cost estimates or plans to cover upgrades for the government.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags 4gtelecommunicationconsumer electronicssatelliteLightSquaredGPSJavad GNSSU.S. Federal Communications Commissionmobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?