GPS Industry: LightSquared 4G would "defy" laws of physics

Image Source: Ars Technica

LightSquared, a company that wants to build a 14 billion dollar, open access satellite/4G LTE broadband network, is facing a new battle. Its base stations appear to wreak havoc with some GPS devices. The company blames GPS makers for the problems and says that those companies are running a government-subsidized business. For those who do not know, LightSquared is planning to launch the new network and resell it on a wholesale basis to companies wanting to offer wireless service. It pledges to not enter the retail side of wireless service, according to Ars Technica.

LightSquared's spectrum, which is between 1525 and 1660.5 MHz, is close to the spectrum used by GPS signals in your smartphone and other GPS devices. The worry is that if towers transmitting stronger signals have spectrum close to the GPS spectrum, the strong signals would interfere with GPS. The "Coalition to Save Our GPS" claims "that the distant, low-powered GPS signals would receive substantial interference from high-powered, close-proximity transmissions from LightSquared's planned network of 40,000 ground stations. The consequences of disruption to GPS signals are far reaching: LightSquared's facilities could create tens of thousands 'dead spots'—each miles in diameter—throughout cities where there was a LightSquared transmitter."

The FCC asked LightSquared to convene a working group and report back, and now LightSquared has filed its report. LightSquared also released a public statement. LightSquared now says that "interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturer's decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees." It also says that the problem could have been fixed by installing filters that cost as little as five cents each. LightSquared's testing shows that the fix "resolves interference for approximately 99.5 percent of all commercial GPS devices." The fix will be now vetted by FCC engineers.

The Coalition to Save Our GPS says that "The FCC technical working group report conclusively shows that LightSquared’s proposed operations defy the law of physics, and therefore simply will not work. The report findings are starkly clear: The only real solution to the LightSquared interference problem is to move out of the MSS band altogether."

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14 Comments

Skittlebrau said,

Increased sales of road directory books.


I will never hear the end of it when my GPS fails and my dad brings out his good old paper map.

seeing how fast phones get replaced, i dont see this as an issue when they fully roll out, as long as there's a real fix.

leeoniya said,
seeing how fast phones get replaced, i dont see this as an issue when they fully roll out, as long as there's a real fix.

yeah, phones, not in car gps systems...... especially the built in ones that you have to have a dealer replace..... which is the real issue

Wait, the headline of this post is the remark about defying the laws of physics, but that's the ONE comment quoted that wasn't even REMOTELY expanded on by the writer.

this annoys me its not the gps dealers faults its lightsquared's fault GPS was there first so lightsquared should be sorting out how it does not interfear with gps ...either way i sense a lawsuit .... (in this world if its not a hacking attempt or a copyright in fridgement its a lawsuit )

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G. It's still 3G technology.

it's impossible to convince people that what they have been hearing for the past year is a lie...

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G. It's still 3G technology.

its just easier then saying hey you know that 3g no nnot the one your using the newer one .. no not that one this one... oh for god sake 4G..... its just easy lol

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G. It's still 3G technology.

Actually the board that certifies the technologies has stated they consider LTE to be a 4G technology. So by the textbook definition, it IS 4G.

You not wanting it to be so doesn't make it not so.

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G. It's still 3G technology.

Yes and no...

This is like the evolution from 2G to 3G where we had 2.5G phones that handled data better, but were not true 3G phones, even though some called themselves 3G.

LTE as it 'exists' is 1/10 the speed of stationary 4G; however, it does qualify for 4G on high speed transportation.

So ya LTE isn't stationary/slow-moving 4G yet, but LTE Advanced will be, and is built on LTE.

I agree that companies are being deceptive in calling LTE 4G, especially when the average user expected data rates are far below the capable capacity. (Even more misleading is ATT calling their HSPA+ 4G, which they were offering couple of years ago and then called it 3G as it should be.)

However, you can't use a blanket statement that LTE is not 4G, as it currently is not, but will be, as LTE was by design to be closer to 3G in initial rollout with future (advanced) specifications to provide for full 4G 1gbps speeds without losing compatibility with current LTE.

LTE has potential, or companies like Qualcomm would not have ditched their UMB technology to jump over to LTE.

LTE might be a good thing, as it should end the fragmentation in technology and offer better coverage because everyone will be supporting LTE.

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