updated 07:25 pm EDT, Thu August 4, 2011
LightSquared investor cries foul
Harbinger fund manager Philip Falcone claims AT&T and Verizon are secretly collaborating to undermine LightSquared. The companies are accused of unfairly using their power to kill LightSquared's chances of successfully completing its plans to build an LTE network, which would directly compete with 4G networks from major wireless providers.
Falcone's argument focuses on the resistance from companies involved in the GPS industry, which has fought to prevent LightSquared from carrying through with its original plans. The GPS companies point to interference problems, as the LTE network would use adjacent spectrum.
Although tests have proven the interference concerns to be valid, Falcone claims an AT&T lobbyist is actually leading the GPS coalition. The hedge fund manager further accuses the carriers of pressuring local governments to oppose the LightSquared plans.
"AT&T has no relationship whatsoever with the GPS Coalition (or any other group for that matter) active on LightSquared's issues," said AT&T Senior Vice President-Federal Regulatory Robert Quinn, according to quotes in a CNET report. "Indeed we welcome the competition from LightSquared and have cited LightSquared's competitive presence, bolstered by the recent deal it announced with Sprint, in our Public Interest Statement supporting our merger application at the FCC."
A Verizon statement echoed AT&T's position, claiming no attempt to "derail any company from participating in the wireless service sector."
LightSquared recently worked to assuage concerns by moving its initial LTE deployment to a separate spectrum block further from GPS signals, however the company's long-term plans still center around the spectrum that has been found to interfere with navigation equipment.
The company has angered GPS makers by arguing that navigation equipment should be outfitted with filters to eliminate the current problems. Such a proposition has been viewed as unrealistic, however LightSquared claims the industry has had plenty of time to adapt its equipment for the eventual utilization of adjacent spectrum for wireless communication.