LightSquared files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

By on May 14, 2012 at 3:20 PM.

LightSquared files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Lightsquared Bankruptcy

LightSquared on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after its planned high-speed wireless network was derailed by regulators, Bloomberg reported. The company’s data network would have covered as many as 260 million users, however it failed to gain approval from federal regulators. The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February due to concerns surrounding interference with GPS systems. Through his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared founder Phillip Falcone has invested roughly $3 billion in the failed venture. According to the bankruptcy filings, LightSquared has more than $1 billion of debt and assets. More →

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RIM appoints new marketing, operating execs

By on May 8, 2012 at 9:45 AM.

RIM appoints new marketing, operating execs

RIM appoints new CMO and COO

Research In Motion on Tuesday named two new executives as the shake-up atop its organization continues. Recently-appointed chief executive officer Thorsten Heins said during his first day on the job that finding a new marketing boss and making drastic changes to the company’s marketing strategy were top priorities for the struggling smartphone maker. While the company’s marketing efforts have yet to pay off — though it does seem to be trying new things, at least — a new chief marketing officer has now been named. Frank Boulben, former executive vice president of strategy, marketing and sales for LightSquared, has been appointed CMO effective immediately, and joining him is new chief operating officer, Kristian Tear, who comes from Sony Mobile where he was the company’s executive vice president. “Kristian and Frank bring extensive knowledge of the rapidly changing wireless global market and will help RIM as we sharpen our focus on delivering long-term value to our stakeholders,” RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said in a statement. “Most importantly, both Kristian and Frank possess a keen understanding of the emerging trends in mobile communications and computing.”

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LightSquared considering bankruptcy after being derailed by regulators

By on April 5, 2012 at 11:00 PM.

LightSquared considering bankruptcy after being derailed by regulators

LightSquared founder Phillip Falcone said he may consider voluntary bankruptcy for his troubled wireless broadband venture, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. “There are arguments that we would be better off in bankruptcy than not,” Falcone said. “LightSquared, if I have to, I’ll put it into bankruptcy. I don’t care,” adding that he would maintain control of the company if it were to file. LightSquared planned to build a high-speed data network that would cover as many as 260 million users, however it failed to gain approval from federal regulators. The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February due to concerns surrounding interference with GPS systems. Through his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, Falcone has invested roughly $3 billion in the failed venture. Bankruptcy is “not what I want, not what I desire, I’d rather find a different way out,” he said. More →

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Dish Network’s spectrum should avoid GPS issues suffered by LightSquared, analysts say

By on March 19, 2012 at 9:30 PM.

Dish Network’s spectrum should avoid GPS issues suffered by LightSquared, analysts say

Philip Falcone’s startup LightSquared planned to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States. The firm’s service was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, however, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to block the network’s launch. Dish Network is looking to build a similar network and is currently awaiting government approval. Executives and analysts have said that Dish will probably avoid the interference concerns that killed LightSquared’s network, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The satellite company’s frequencies, which are above 2GHz, are far away from those used by GPS devices and Lightsquared’s 1600Mhz band, and are less likely to interfere. “It’s not as close to GPS, so it’s unlikely to interfere,” said Matthew Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, which operates more than 60 satellites. “But the approval is going to take some time. The FCC is going to make sure they don’t have another LightSquared problem on their hands.” Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners, believes that Dish will gain FCC approval in 6 to 12 months. More →

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Sprint officially ends agreement with LightSquared

By on March 16, 2012 at 10:20 AM.

Sprint officially ends agreement with LightSquared

Sprint on Friday announced that it has terminated its agreement with LightSquared. The two companies agreed last June to an 11-year deal that would share network expansion costs and equipment if LightSquared could secure regulatory approval for its 4G LTE network build-out. “Sprint has been and continues to be supportive of LightSquared’s business plans and appreciates the company’s efforts to find a resolution to the interference issues impacting its ability to offer service on the 1.6 GHz spectrum,” the company said in a press release. “However, due to these unresolved issues, and subject to the provisions of the agreement, Sprint has elected to exercise its right to terminate the agreement announced last summer. We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders.”  The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February due to concerns that it was interfering with GPS systems. Sprint then gave the company until March 15th to gain approval — which it did not. “Per the terms of the agreement, Sprint has returned $65 million in prepayments LightSquared made to cover costs that were not ultimately incurred by Sprint,” the company said. Read on for Sprint’s press release. More →

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Sprint to end deal with LightSquared, report claims

By on March 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM.

Sprint to end deal with LightSquared, report claims

Sprint is reportedly planning to walk away from its planned network-sharing deal with LightSquared as early as next week, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Sprint and LightSquared in June agreed to an 11-year deal that would share network expansion costs and equipment if LightSquared could secure regulatory approval for its 4G LTE network build-out. The carrier first gave LightSquared until the end of 2011 to receive FCC approval, and then extended the deadline to March 15th. The FCC blocked LightSquared’s LTE network in February, however, due to concerns that it was interfering with GPS systems. Meanwhile, LightSquared repeatedly claimed that the blame lies with the GPS industry. According to the Bloomberg’s sources, Sprint has no plans to extend the March 15th deadline and will instead kill its deal with LightSquared. Sprint is expected to return $74 million of the $310 million it has collected from LightSquared so far once the deal is terminated. More →

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LightSquared CEO steps down, will remain chairman of the board

By on February 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM.

LightSquared CEO steps down, will remain chairman of the board

LightSquared on Tuesday announced that Sanjiv Ahuja has resigned from his role as chief executive officer. Chief network officer Doug Smith and and CFO Marc Montagner will serve as interim co-CEOs, and Ahuja will continue to serve as chairman of the board. Additionally, LightSquared’s billionaire founder Philip Falcone has been appointed to the company’s board of directors and has reiterated LightSquared’s commitment to low-priced 4G alternatives. “We are, furthermore, committed to working with the appropriate entities to find a solution to the recent regulatory issues,” Falcone said. “We, of course, agree that it is critical to ensure that national security, aviation and the GPS communities are protected. I am confident that working together, we can solve this problem and bring the American consumer the lower priced 4G wireless alternative they need and deserve.” Read on for LightSquared’s press release. More →

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LightSquared plans to lay off 45% of its staff

By on February 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM.

LightSquared plans to lay off 45% of its staff

LightSquared announced on Tuesday that the company plans to cut its workforce by 45% in an effort to cut costs. “This and other cost savings measures will allow LightSquared to continue to navigate the regulatory process as it works with the appropriate government agencies to find solutions to the GPS interference issue and bring its $14 billion privately funded wireless broadband network to more than 260 million Americans,” the company said in a statement to Reuters. Last week, the FCC announced that it would block the company’s planned 4G LTE network due to issues concerning GPS interference. LightSquared currently employs 330 people and according to Reuters, the company is not currently considering bankruptcy. More →

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FCC to block rollout of LightSquared 4G LTE network

By on February 15, 2012 at 8:30 PM.

FCC to block rollout of LightSquared 4G LTE network

LTE startup LightSquared is about to be dealt the final blow in a longstanding battle that has seen its dream of becoming “America’s dumbest pipe” shattered. Controlled by hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, LightSquared had plans to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States that would be licensed to wholesalers and utilized by carrier partners such as Sprint. LightSquared’s network was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, and though frequency bleeding caused by GPS network inefficiencies are to blame according to LightSquared, the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday said it would not allow LightSquared’s network to launch. “NTIA, the federal agency that coordinates spectrum uses for the military and other federal government entities, has now concluded that there is no practical way to mitigate potential interference at this time,” FCC spokesman Tammy Sun wrote in a letter on Wednesday. “Consequently, the Commission will not lift the prohibition on LightSquared.” The FCC did acknowledge that the GPS industry must address the interference its networks are causing in order to free up neighboring spectrum for use by consumer broadband networks. More →

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Sprint gives LightSquared six more weeks to gain FCC approval

By on January 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM.

Sprint gives LightSquared six more weeks to gain FCC approval

Sprint has granted LightSquared six more weeks to gain approval from the Federal Communications Commission to launch its network. This is the second time the carrier has extended it deadline for LightSquared to prove to the FCC that its network does not interfere with GPS systems. There has been quite a battle going on between LightSquared and the government, however. LightSquared and a former FCC engineer have argued that the carrier’s 4G LTE network, which Sprint plans to use to help roll out its LTE service more quickly, was unfairly tested at higher power levels than the network will actually operate at and that testing was “rigged.” The company also said that those who tested its network would benefit from the FCC’s possible decision to prevent it from operating. “Sprint and LightSquared have agreed to extend our network agreement through mid March,” LightSquared said in a statement to BGR. “Sprint continues to support our business plan to bring wireless broadband to more than 260 million Americans and our ongoing efforts to work with regulatory agencies to resolve interference concerns.” LightSquared now has until March to gain the FCC’s blessing to operate. More →

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LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer say GPS tests were rigged

By on January 18, 2012 at 11:15 AM.

LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer say GPS tests were rigged

LightSquared and former FCC chief engineer Edmond Thomas on Wednesday said the GPS test devices that were used by the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee (PNT EXCOM) to test its new network were rigged by “manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results.” The company said that devices from GPS manufacturers, which have claimed LightSquared’s network interferes with GPS communications, were “cherry picked” in secret and that independent authorities were not allowed to partake or oversee the tests or test results. In addition, LightSquared said the tests focused on obsolete technology that is only used in “niche market devices” and that are “least able to withstand potential interference” from wireless networks. Read on for more. More →

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LightSquared’s 4G LTE network will always interfere with GPS, government says

By on January 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM.

LightSquared’s 4G LTE network will always interfere with GPS, government says

In a memo released on Friday, the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Executive Committee said the nine federal agencies that make up the body have concluded unanimously that none of LightSquared’s proposals would overcome the network’s interference with GPS technologies. The announcement comes as a crushing blow for the startup, which is looking to build an LTE network with the company’s 1600MHz frequency. Preliminary testing last year showed that LightSquared’s planned network interfered with GPS. After a handful of rebuttals, changes, and more testing, the government has decided to pull the plug and request no further testing. The Federal Aviation Administration also concluded the network would interfere with aircraft safety systems.”Based upon this testing and analysis, there appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS. As a result, no additional testing is warranted at this time,” the memo said. LightSquared slammed the decision, claiming the agency has a biased agenda that is in favor of the GPS industry. Late last year, LightSquared reiterated that the GPS industry is at fault and it demanded approval from the FCC to begin deploying its network. More →

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LightSquared asks NASA for investigation into GPS advisory board

By on January 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM.

LightSquared asks NASA for investigation into GPS advisory board

LightSquared has asked NASA’s inspector general to investigate whether or not an advisor to federal agencies has conflicts of interest that make it unfair for him to determine whether or not LightSquared’s 4G LTE network interferes with GPS networks. The advisor was named as Bradford Parkinson, who works both as a vice chairman of Trimble Navigation, an industry board that advises federal agencies on GPS technology, and also as a Stanford University professor, The Wall Street Journal said Friday. “His involvement on both has been known by everyone involved since concerns of GPS interference by LightSquared were raised,” a GPS coalition spokesperson Dale Leibach told The Wall Street Journal. Read on for more. More →

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