LightSquared proposes concessions on LTE

The carrier offered to postpone and cancel network power increases and add more oversight

LightSquared has submitted a significant new offer to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in its bid to use frequencies near the GPS band for a cellular data network.

In a filing to the FCC on Monday, the fledgling carrier offered to accept an extra check on the most troublesome part of its spectrum. It also offered to postpone an increase in power for its network and eliminate a further power boost from its road map.

LightSquared wants to operate an LTE (Long-Term Evolution) mobile data network around the U.S. on frequencies it has licensed that are close to those used for GPS (Global Positioning System). But before the FCC will let it launch the network, which it hopes to do by the end of next year, the agency needs to be satisfied that the system won't interfere with the use of GPS receivers.

The new proposals should help to ensure that LightSquared's initial LTE launch won't affect GPS receivers and reassure GPS vendors and users that a later expansion of the system would be fully vetted with their interests in mind, said Jeffrey Carlisle, LightSquared's executive vice president for regulatory affairs and policy.

Testing earlier this year showed that using the upper 10MHz of LightSquared's spectrum crippled many GPS devices. Subsequently, the carrier limited its plans, for now, to a lower band that is farther from GPS frequencies. Test results on that band are set to be discussed on Wednesday by the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT ExComm), though some information about the tests was leaked last Friday. On Tuesday, LightSquared criticized that leak and questioned some conclusions drawn from the data.

With a forecast of about nine months from approval to commercial launch, LightSquared will need a green light from the FCC fairly soon to launch by the end of 2012. More testing is due to start in January. The new offer, if accepted by the FCC, might move that process forward more rapidly.

"This is part of the package and we expect that it will be a significant set of proposals in order to move this in the right direction," Carlisle said.

LightSquared has committed to launch its base stations at a power level on the ground of -30 dBm (decibels per milliwatt). It currently plans to increase its maximum power to -27 dBm after Jan. 1, 2015, and to -24 dBm after Jan. 1, 2017.

In Monday's filing, the company said it will not boost the radios' maximum power to -27 dBm until after Jan. 1, 2016, and will eliminate the later increase to -24 dBm.

Cellular radios with lower power would be less capable of affecting GPS. LightSquared says that at these levels, it believes the LTE network will not degrade the performance of GPS devices, at least if the LTE network is operating in LightSquared's lower spectrum block.

Also in the filing, LightSquared addressed the conditions under which it could be approved to use the upper block of its spectrum. The company proposed a double control over that block, in which not only the FCC but also the PNT ExComm would have to give the green light for operation on those frequencies. The PNT ExComm is the federal agency overseeing GPS, and it works through the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration), which coordinates the use of all federal government spectrum.

"What we want to do is say, 'Let's put more process around it ... that genuinely and clearly defends GPS interests in the use of that spectrum,'" Carlisle said. "Whatever happens to this upper 10MHz, the 10MHz of spectrum closest to GPS, the GPS community has a direct and decisional voice in it."

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

Join the newsletter!

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

Tags governmentregulationtelecommunication4gCarriersU.S. Federal Communications CommissionLightSquared

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



Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?