LightSquared develops new antenna to settle GPS concerns

LightSquared announced on Thursday that, in cooperating with PCTEL, it has developed a new antenna that will help “resolve concerns over high precision GPS receivers.” LightSquared’s 4G LTE network, which will be deployed in the 1600MHz frequency spectrum with Sprint, has been found to interfere with the frequencies used by GPS and personal navigation systems. The new antenna helps alleviate those concerns, despite speculation that a fix could require billions of dollars and take upwards of a decade. “PCTEL has developed GPS antenna solutions that have solved a variety of interference issues that others said were unsolvable,” LightSquared executive vice president Martin Harriman said. “Their wideband antenna provides an efficient and elegant solution for thousands of high precision device users.” The new solution will soon undergo testing with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as well as with the Federal Communications Commission. Read on for the full press release.

LightSquared and PCTEL Protect High Precision GPS Applications

LightSquared and PCTEL Collaboration Solves High Precision GPS Interference

RESTON, Va., Oct. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — LightSquared, a wholesale carrier building a nationwide wireless broadband network that will create consumer choice and drive industry innovation, has collaborated with PCTEL (NASDAQ: PCTI), a global leader in the design and development of innovative antenna solutions, to resolve concerns over high precision GPS receivers.

PCTEL has developed an antenna that will allow existing high precision users to retrofit their GPS devices to make them compatible with LightSquared’s network. This antenna provides high precision GPS users with another in a series of solutions to make their equipment LightSquared-compatible.

“PCTEL has developed GPS antenna solutions that have solved a variety of interference issues that others said were unsolvable. Their wideband antenna provides an efficient and elegant solution for thousands of high precision device users,” said Martin Harriman, executive vice president of ecosystem development and satellite business at LightSquared.

PCTEL’s antenna solutions address applications including public safety, agriculture, construction and aviation. The new antenna will be independently tested with a range of receivers at the world-renowned Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs in Murray Hill, NJ.

“Over the last year, we have worked closely with LightSquared to develop a narrowband solution to interference issues. Our current work with LightSquared will enable wideband high precision users to have a state-of-the-art solution for their unique positioning needs. We look forward to developing other multiband and wideband high rejection GPS antenna products with LightSquared to bring high precision technology to new levels,” said Jeff Miller, PCTEL’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

Despite claims by some GPS device manufacturers that an interference solution would take ten years and billions of dollars to develop, the private marketplace has continued to develop inexpensive solutions using existing technology in just a matter of weeks. PCTEL is the third company to collaborate with LightSquared on a solution to high-precision GPS interference issues. Earlier this month, GPS device maker Javad GNSS announced the design of antennas that can be retrofitted onto existing devices and the development of new receivers that are compatible with LightSquared’s network. Additionally, Partron America has created a filtering component that costs only $6.

These solutions will undergo extensive National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) testing in the coming weeks.  Preliminary testing results leave LightSquared confident that the debate over its network and interference from GPS signals will be resolved.

LightSquared’s mission is to build a world-class 4G-LTE network that will bring lower prices, better service and more competition to 260 million Americans by 2015. It is through these alliances with engineering experts that new GPS interference solutions have been developed, keeping the company’s deployment plan on track so that all Americans can realize the benefits of a new nationwide wireless broadband network.

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