Lightsquared, who last month received a conditional waiver from the FCC on its products, looks like it might be in trouble as the FCC has withdrawn that waiver. Obviously the FCC acted in response to concerns over GPS interference. This officially ‘kills’ Lightsquared’s proposed solution to rolling out a 4G-LTE network over the spectrum it owns, baring some sort of miracle intervention from who knows where.
However, I think they’ve made an interesting counter argument to the GPS interference test results – the GPS industry is too big to fail. What they’re effectively arguing is that industrial GPS manufacturers use equipment that over listens to signals, meaning it’s paying attention to a portion of the spectrum upon they never were licensed to listen.
I’m not personally knowledgeable enough about spectrum use in general (and GPS spectrum use in particular) to know if the argument holds any water. I do think it’s interesting the FCC chose – wisely in my opinion – to preference navigation over cell communications. However, I believe more knowledgeable heads than mine should certainly investigate Lightsquared’s claims. The license of the spectrum really only works if everyone obeys the virtual fences properly. That’s true whether GPS is encroaching on Lightsquared’s territory as Lightsquared believes or whether Lightsquared is encroaching on GPS territory as testing has suggested.