LightSquared Update

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A coalition of GPS manufacturers told the FCC Tuesday that there is still no reason to think that LightSquared's use of frequencies to provide broadband will not impair GPS signals as LightSquared expands its plans. According to the coalition, "there has been no suggestion that there will ever be an effective way to mitigate interference from its [LightSquared's] use of the upper 10 MHz without seriously degrading GPS performance." LightSquared has claimed that solutions exist for mitigating interference from use of a lower 10 MHz band. The coalition contends that claim has yet to be demonstrated and tested and that LightSquared has plans to move beyond that range, anyway. Meanwhile, an announcement Wednesday shows that LightSquared is doing anything but backing off of its plans.

Wireless Federation reported Wednesday that LightSquared has entered into an agreement with a provider to enable financial transactions via mobile handsets over the LightSquared network. The partner company, m-banco, says LightSquared's network will turn m-banco equipped devices into virtual wallets to conduct financial transactions in real time, any time, regardless of location. LightSquared has threatened legal action if its system proposal is rejected by the FCC and says inexpensive products have been developed that may resolve the interference problem. LightSquared has also contended that interference problems could be avoided if only GPS manufacturers built their receivers properly, to Department of Defense standards. If the use of LightSquared's network requires the company to expand its frequency band to both lower and upper spectrums considered, it could sandwich the GPS spectrum. The coalition says that situation could create a new problem -- "intermodulation" of signals "in the heart of the GPS band, well outside of LightSquared's authorized frequencies." Click here to read the coalition's full letter: PDF.