LightSquared hires Bush lawyer to take on FCC

LightSquared, the embattled LTE 4G US player, has hired well-known solicitor Theodore Olsen in a final bid to save its seemingly doomed terrestrial LTE network project. Olsen’s main claim to fame was helping George W. Bush claim a victory in the 2000 US election in the Bush v. Gore Supreme Court case.

The move is a last gasp attempt by LightSquared to force the FCC to reverse its decision to revoke the waiver that gave approval for LightSquared to operate a terrestrial LTE service using its satellite spectrum, a move that essentially grounded LightSquared’s plans.

The FCC revoked the waiver after strong pressure from the GPS community after numerous technical tests claimed that LightSquared proposed L-band terrestrial spectrum would cause widespread interference with GPS equipment.

Solicitor Olson told website Politico that the removal of the waiver by the FCC amounted to, an “egregious” example, of the US government encouraging a company to invest an enormous amount of money and then “pulling the rug out from under them capriciously and precipitously”.

“On the face of things, it looks to me like the government has acted arbitrarily after inducing the expenditure of an enormous number of resources,” he said.

LightSquared has opted to undertake a political course of action, despite providing compelling counter evidence in GPS tests, which found evidence of interference as flawed.

The fallout from the FCC’s decision regarding LightSquared is ongoing, with Cricket Communications, the operating company of Leap Wireless, announcing it has made a five-year agreement with Clearwire for offloading capacity from its own planned LTE network. It was not clear however, if Cricket had cancelled its previous agreement with LightSquared.

LightSquared’s high profile agreements with FreedomPop and Sprint were also now likely to falter. LightSquared’s CEO Sanjiv Ahuja resigned in February after the FCC decision, and the company is still looking for a replacement with chief network officer Doug Smith and chief financial officer Marc Montagner serving as interim co-CEOs.

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