Sprint grants LightSquared second extension to achieve FCC clearance

3 Feb 2012

US giant Sprint Nextel has reportedly granted billionaire Philip Falcone’s struggling open-access Long Term Evolution (LTE) venture LightSquared a new six-week extension within which to gain Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clearance to operate its controversial 4G network, which seeks to use non-traditional spectrum in 1.4GHz and 1.6GHz bands. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Sprint has given LightSquared until mid-March to resolve FCC concerns that its network interferes with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment; the extension follows the 30-day reprieve given to LightSquared in late-December. The FCC is accepting public comment until 27 February regarding LightSquared’s argument that GPS device manufacturers should not entitled to legal protection from interference caused by its signals. Last month LightSquared urged the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to retake the lead on government testing for GPS filtering solutions, after alleging that a series of actions by federal agencies have demonstrated ‘bias and inappropriate collusion with the private sector’. LightSquared plans to have over 40 million connected consumer terrestrial devices (on a wholesale basis) by 2015, equating to 92% population coverage by that date.