updated 08:35 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Startup faces ongoing interference concerns
Sprint has reportedly halted its investments in the troubled startup LightSquared, amid concerns that the latter company will encounter further difficulty securing an operating license. In comments at a Citigroup conference, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse voiced hope that LightSquared can overcome interference issues and move forward with plans to launch a nationwide 4G network.
Sprint recently gave the startup 30 more days to receive FCC approval that is required to move forward with collaboration between both companies. Separate reports suggest LightSquared may run out of funds by spring if it does not resolve the problems.
Government tests have confirmed that LightSquared's 4G network causes interference with GPS signals, effectively jamming navigation equipment. The company secured spectrum that sits alongside the bands used by satellite navigation hardware.
LightSquared has argued that the problems are due to the lack of signal filters on GPS equipment, and therefore a problem that the GPS industry must address. Critics suggest the technical basis of the argument may be valid, however most believe it is unrealistic to expect the FCC will allow the technology to be deployed if it wreaks havoc on existing GPS equipment.
Sprint investment is viewed as essential to fully realize LightSquared's goals, though the company can still move forward on a smaller scale if the deals fall through.