LightSquared earns FCC approval for ‘integrated service’

27 Jan 2011

LightSquared, the USD7 billion Long Term Evolution (LTE) open-access mobile network that will utilise satellite spectrum acquired by New York investment firm Harbinger Capital, has confirmed that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted it a conditional waiver of the Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) Integrated Service rule; as LightSquared will offer both a satellite and a land-based Long Term Evolution (LTE) network it is required to acquire a licence from the FCC to operate the service under its ATC rule for integrated services. The company plans to run its network strictly on a wholesale basis, allowing other service providers such as mobile carriers and to resell access to the network. In association with Qualcomm, it also plans to ensure that single handsets suitable for both networks are available.

A LightSquared press statement confirmed: ‘LightSquared is pleased with the Federal Communication Commission’s grant of its request to allow its wholesale customers to provide either dual-mode or terrestrial-only devices as part of an integrated satellite-terrestrial broadband service. LightSquared’s network will provide a robust, open-access network that will permit reliable and affordable service to customers across the country in every market segment. The FCC’s grant of this application is an essential building block for our network as we build out to meet the rigorous construction timetable that the Commission has made a condition of our authorisation and reaffirmed in today’s grant of our request’.

LightSquared has been forced to address concerns about potential interference with GPS (Global Positioning System) devices, and pledged to make ‘a diligent effort to work with all interested parties in an open and comprehensive process to address those concerns’. According to the terms of its licence the LightSquared network must achieve coverage of 100 million people by the end of 2012, 145 million people by the end of 2013 and 260 million people (not including satellite coverage) by the end of 2015. The network is expected to launch in 2H11.

United States, Ligado Networks (formerly LightSquared)