AfterDawn: Tech news

LightSquared claims to have solved GPS interference problems for their 4G network

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 22 Sep 2011 10:58 User comments (2)

LightSquared claims to have solved GPS interference problems for their 4G network Would be wholesale mobile provider LightSquared says they have a fix for GPS interference problems with their proposed LTE network. Unfortunately their solution raises as many questions as it answers.
LightSquared's plan involves operating a terrestrial 4G network in a frequency range normally reserved for satellite communications. This has raised objections from both private industry and government regulators due to interference issues with a broad range of GPS systems.

LightSquared's network would cause problems for high precision GPS units used by the military, and also in a wide range of commercial applications, including aviation, agriculture & surveying.

Their proposed solution would require GPS users to modify existing equipment to use newly developed hardware which they say is capable of filtering out the problem transmissions.

In a conference call with the media, a company spokesman said, "LightSquared is in active conversations with the government about covering the cost in whatever way we can legally, of retrofitting all the federal government GPS precision devices."

However, he also avoided a question about who would pay to modify GPS units in the private sector, saying, "The reason why we focused on government devices is because we don't want the tax payer to take a hit."

Assuming the solution meets government approval, which we won't know until at least November, it would mean a minimum cost of $50 - $300 for each GPS unit to be replaced. That doesn't include the expense of actually deploying the modifications.

It would certainly be good for the US wireless market to offer the sort of wholesale mobile services LightSquared proposes. In theory it would become possible for regional wireless providers to offer a national network comparable to big carrers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.

In fact, you could argue the increased level of competition from such a service could mitigate the risk of allowing AT&T to buy T-Mobile.

But it may not be possible to overcome the technical problems quickly enough to salvage LightSquared's business. The remaining questions appear to outweigh the available answers.

By their own admission, LightSquared doesn't even know how much their proposed solution would cost because much of the information on government GPS units is classified.

Previous Next  

2 user comments

123.9.2011 4:20

I ASSUME LightAquared is offereing to replace all the GPS equipment in the world at no additional cost to the people or the Government? I don't think they has enough money to make that happen, although I expect lots of payoffs to encourage the Government to subsidize the program, partially. I have 4 GPS units excluding cell phones.... I won't run to the mail box to see if new ones have arrived....

224.9.2011 0:17
llongtheD
Inactive

Originally posted by FreddyF:
I ASSUME LightAquared is offereing to replace all the GPS equipment in the world at no additional cost to the people or the Government? I don't think they has enough money to make that happen, although I expect lots of payoffs to encourage the Government to subsidize the program, partially. I have 4 GPS units excluding cell phones.... I won't run to the mail box to see if new ones have arrived....
No worries Freddy, lightsquared is a huge campaign "contributor." This will be pushed through, and you don't even have to ever worry about getting new GPS devices. You won't, not unless you pay for them yourself.




If your fish seems sick, put it back in the water.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive