Philip Falcone’s LightSquared wireless venture offered to forgo an increase in power affecting global-positioning devices on the ground, saying the move shows the company is addressing interference concerns.
The lower-energy operations, proposed in a Dec. 12 regulatory filing, is among LightSquared initiatives that have “proven that an engineering solution to the interference issues with GPS devices is possible,” Terry Neal, a company spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement.
LightSquared needs U.S. approval to build a high-speed network offering wholesale service to 260 million people through airwaves close to those used by GPS. LightSquared transmissions caused harmful interference to 75 percent of GPS units tested in a recent set of government-mandated tests, according to a draft of a government summary seen by Bloomberg News.
The Bloomberg report “was based on an incomplete, selective and slanted analysis of the data,” LightSquared said in a letter yesterday to U.S. officials. Bloomberg stands by its reporting, said Ty Trippet, a spokesman for New York-based Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News.
A proper analysis of the U.S. tests would show that 14 of 92 of tested devices, or 15 percent, experienced some loss of receiver sensitivity and were “completely operable with no impact on the user’s experience,” Neal said.
Coalition to Save Our GPS, an organization of companies that rely on the navigation technology, criticized the company’s statement. “LightSquared insists on using its own, self-serving definition of what constitutes harmful interference,” Dale Leibach, a group spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement today.
The organization, formed in response to LightSquared’s plans, includes navigation-gear makers Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) and Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB), package shippers FedEx Corp. (FDX) and United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS) and the Air Transport Association representing carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and AMR Corp.’s American Airlines.
LightSquared’s Dec. 12 filing said the company would forgo one increase in power experienced by receivers on the ground that was previously planned for 2017, and would delay another by a year until 2016.
“Our analysis is still under way and we are examining the full range of potential scenarios,” Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said in an e-mail. The Commerce Department agency is helping to guide the U.S. assessment of Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared, which is backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund.
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