FCC Seeks to Kill LightSquared's LTE Network Plan

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission wants to drop the conditional waiver that could have allowed LightSquared to operate an LTE network in frequencies near the GPS band, potentially killing the carrier's plan to offer a hybrid satellite and cellular mobile data network.

LightSquared wants to offer a mobile data service over both satellite and LTE (Long-Term Evolution), selling access to each network at wholesale to other carriers. The FCC issued a conditional waiver last year that would have let LightSquared operate the LTE network in its licensed frequencies, on the condition that it didn't cause interference with GPS. Subsequent tests showed interference between the two networks.

On Tuesday, after the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) told the FCC there was no solution to the interference at this time, the FCC proposed vacating its conditional waiver for LightSquared and suspending indefinitely the carrier's authority to operate a land-based network. The NTIA coordinates federal uses of spectrum.

The FCC plans to issue a public notice Wednesday seeking comment on its proposals and on the NTIA's conclusions.

LightSquared did not have an immediate comment on the FCC's proposals.

(More to follow.)

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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