LightSquared says interference issue solved by filter

Aspiring US wholesale player LightSquared, which is planning a nationwide wireless broadband offering over satellite and LTE networks, has released details of a technical solution that it says will put an end to interference between its network and GPS devices. The carrier, backed by billionaire investor Philip Falcone, has come under attack from the Coalition to Save our GPS, an industry grouping including commercial GPS players like Garmin and TomTom as well as public sector users, over interference issues.

On Wednesday LightSquared said it had signed an agreement with Javad GNSS to develop filters that will “eliminate related interference issues for high-precision GPS devices.” Prototypes have been tested, LightSquared said, and preproduction units will be released for public tests in October.

“I have said from the beginning that this interference issue will be resolved as soon as smart engineers like Javad Ashjaee [CEO of Javad GNSS] put their minds to it,” said Sanjiv Ahuja, former chief of Orange and now chairman and CEO of LightSquared. “This breakthrough is a final step toward LightSquared’s goal of building a nationwide wireless network that will bring lower prices and better service to Americans from coast to coast.”

LightSquared described the creation of a solution to the interference problem as “very simple and inexpensive”, adding that it didn’t expect the cost of end user devices to increase as a result of the additional technology.

The GPS community has rubbished LightSquared’s attempts to resolve interference issues so far. In August the Coalition to Save our GPS suggested that the kind of filters that LightSquared has argued could solve interference problems “generally do not exist (and therefore could not be tested).” In a filing to US regulator the FCC, the group continued: “The only [filter] that worked was under an extremely limited set of circumstances, and even if an effective filter did exist (which it does not), retrofitting existing devices would be nearly impossible.”

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