Sprint and LightSquared had entered into an 11-year agreement last June to share network expansion costs if LightSquared could get regulatory approval for its LTE rollout plan. LightSquared was debating with the FCC about alleged GPS interference on the 1.6 GHz spectrum, and Sprint had given them a six-week deadline to sort it all out. Well, the six weeks is now up, and Sprint has decided to terminate the agreement, saying the following:
“…due to these unresolved issues, and subject to the provisions of the agreement, Sprint has elected to exercise its right to terminate the agreement announced last summer. We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders…
…Per the terms of the agreement, Sprint has returned $65 million in prepayments LightSquared made to cover costs that were not ultimately incurred by Sprint.”
Full press release after the break.
Virginia-based LightSquared Inc. plans to lay off 45% of its 330 employees after failing to pay back a $56 million loan to British satellite partner Inmarsat, the company said on Tuesday. LightSquared spent $2.5 million on lobbyists trying to solidify the FCC’s temporary permission to move ahead with their wireless network, but was dealt a severe blow last week when the FCC revoked their permission, citing interference concerns with military and airline GPS systems. To avoid the interference, LightSquared requested that the FCC require stricter GPS spectrum usage, but the FCC rejected that request.
Sprint, who previously struck a partnership deal with LightSquared to roll out LTE to Sprint’s customers, gave the company a deadline to complete their network build-out by March of this year. With the FCC’s decision blocking them from continuing to roll out their service, coupled with their financial troubles, it seems unlikely that the company will be able to meet Sprint’s deadline, essentially killing the deal and possibly delaying Sprint’s LTE plans.
It appears that the LightSquared saga is one giant step closer to coming to an end. After recently requesting that the FCC become stricter on its GPS device standards, it’s reported that the FCC will be rejecting the company’s network application — inhibiting its ability to become a wholesale LTE network provider. This is all after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) sent a letter to the FCC stating “LightSquared’s proposed mobile broadband network will impact GPS services and that there is no practical way to mitigate the potential interference at this time”, which directly contradicts the FCC’s conditions for approval of the application that LightSquared not in any way interfere with any other signal spectrum.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. On top of the billions of dollars and heaps of resources put into the LightSquared project, this will most definitely be putting LightSquared’s ability to comply with Sprint’s recent ultimatum. However the company doesn’t quite want to take no for an answer, and went on record stating that they disagree with the NTIA’s decision, and will remain committed to finding a resolution.
source: the wall street journal
LightSquared, the company which has spent billions of dollars developing a whole-sale only wireless broadband network, filed a document with the FCC regarding stricter standards of GPS devices. LightSquared believes that signals that are used as part of GPS bands are the culprit of interference on the spectrum that they’ve chose to use for their services. Originally, that spectrum was supposed to be a satellite-only type of deal, but the FCC cleared it for terrestrial use back in 2005. The FCC also granted the company a waiver so LightSquared could run a terrestrial-only network.
Now, due to Sprint delivering an ultimatum, LightSquared is pressed for time in achieving a resolution for all these interference issues. Losing a long-term multi-billion dollar deal like the one struck with Sprint could be potentially catastrophic for LightSquared, especially when you couple it with LightSquared’s largest investor, Harbinger Capital Partners, who last year reported a whopping 46.6 percent value loss. Although the potential of LightSquared can be valued quite high in my opinion, it seems that if it can’t strike a deal with the FCC, we might be seeing a little more sinking than swimming.
Sprint and LightSquared were all set on their venture to begin delivering 4G LTE to Sprint’s customer base however, there’s one small stepping stone. And by small, I mean huge as heck. The FCC has presented quite the challenge in a number of areas for LightSquared primarily in regards to an alleged GPS interference issue. The entire ordeal has moved to the FCC inquiring public approval before moving forward. However, Sprint isn’t allowing the matter to linger any longer than it needs to. The carrier would still like to use LightSquared to assist in rolling out 4G LTE speeds to its customers however, they’ve given the company a deadline of six weeks to straighten matters out before they look elsewhere for services. The folks over at BGR managed to get a statement from LightSquared:
“Sprint and LightSquared have agreed to extend our network agreement through mid March. Sprint continues to support our business plan to bring wireless broadband to more than 260 million Americans and our ongoing efforts to work with regulatory agencies to resolve interference concerns.”
So, stay tuned to Talk Android as we see if LightSquared can reconcile things with the FCC by mid March. Im sure there is a plethora of Sprint customers that would love to see 4G LTE speeds on their network, 260 million to be exact.
source: Down Jones Newswires
Sprint has struck a deal with Lightsquared to expand 4g LTE services into its already massive nationwide network. Lightsquared will afford $9 billion toward building out on Sprint’s network, while Sprint will receive $4.5 billion toward LTE and satellite services. Steve Elfman, Sprint’s president of network operations and wholesale, explains that this will save nearly $13 billion in network infrastructure costs, while simultaneously bringing LTE to 260 million Americans by 2015. This comes as little surprise, considering the benefits of the increased flexibility and additional options it provides, but it’s a welcome change to Sprint’s relatively small 4g market as it is.
You would think that as our wireless technology advances, it would be made easier for customers use when it comes to roaming technology. Sorry, that is not the case as PCMag has confirmewd from a Verizon Spokesperson that LTE would not be compatible for roaming onto other LTE networks nationwide. The spectrum used for LTE is sold in separate blocks, thus only allowing a small margin of crossover between carrier blocks within that same spectrum. So chances of actually being able to roam is pretty minimal at best. It’s going to get worse before it gets better too, as the ITU has approved twelve different bands to be allocated for 4G/LTE use worldwide, which basically means if you travel, don’t expect to get onto any other 4G/LTE roaming networks. This may be a reason to stick with 3G if you aren’t concerned with speed over having any connection at all.