LightSquared says US goverment tests were "rigged"

The wireless network company LightSquared has been on the defensive for months ever since claims that its upcoming LTE-based network could interfere with GPS signals were first made in 2011.

The claims came to a head in December when the results of a US government test on LightSquared network were leaked ahead of time. The government's final conclusion was, "LightSquared signals caused harmful interference to majority of GPS receivers tested. No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists."

Now LightSquared is fighting back, claiming in a new press release that the government's tests were "rigged by manufacturers of GPS receivers and government end users to produce bogus results ... "

Among other things LightSquared claims that the government's tests were conducted in total secrecy, saying:

The GPS manufacturers cherry-picked the devices in secret without any independent oversight authority in place or input from LightSquared. The GPS manufacturers and the government end users put non-disclosure agreements in place for the PNT EXCOM’s tests, preventing any input by an independent authority or from LightSquared before the tests began.

LightSquared also claimed that after the test were completed, the list of GPS devices that were revealed as part of the test "included many discontinued or niche market devices with poor filters or no filters." The company is asking for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Federal Communications Commission to hold a second series of tests on its network "on high-precision devices at an independent laboratory to ensure objectivity and transparency."

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12 Comments

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Everything I've read on the interference from LightSquared with GPS, shows the problem to be poorly designed GPS devices. They are scanning outside of their assigned spectrum and bleeding into LightSquared's assigned spectrum.

The system is rigged.
All people are afraid.
No one knows what they're doing.
Everything is getting worse.
No one is properly dressed.
etc.

Sounds like sour grapes from LightSquared to me. I suppose LightSquared expects everyone with an older GPS should be required to buy a new one so LightSquared can exist.

Mr Byte said,
Sounds like sour grapes from LightSquared to me. I suppose LightSquared expects everyone with an older GPS should be required to buy a new one so LightSquared can exist.

On the other hand, if the govt really thinks their test results are accurate, then they shouldn't have any reason to object to allowing an independent lab perform the same tests or make the tests more transparent as to how the tests were performed.

Keep in mind that ATT and Verizon are rightfully threatened by the possibility of Sprint using LightSquared for LTE expansion. Considering they already do a lot lobbying and provide kickbacks to various officials involved in agencies responsible for handling L2's approval process. It's also no secret ATT attempted to buy Tmo even if they knew it probably would not get approved as long as it meant keeping it out of Sprint's hands for a little while longer. Unfortunately, they succeeded on doing just that despite the $4B breakup fee, which they would consider well spent.

As a consumer, conspiracy or not, I could care less about how whiny L2 seems. Getting the approval is more important and will only make a Sprint a legit competitor again, hopefully putting some extra pricing pressure to keep prices reasonable.