GPS interference alters LightSquared network plans

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 20, 2011 1:29 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - LightSquared, a telecom start-up backed by Philip Falcone's hedge fund Harbinger, is changing its plans to build a high-speed wireless network due to avoid interference problems with GPS services.

LightSquared said on Monday that it would use a different block of wireless airwaves than it had originally planned to use for its network because of interference problems uncovered in recent tests of its planned system.

The company, which still needs more funding to build its network, said the new spectrum band is "largely free" of interference issues.

LightSquared expects to be able to build a wireless network to rent space to commercial service providers as soon as the middle of 2012 under the revised plan, its Chief Executive Sanjiv Ahuja told Reuters in an interview.

Ahuja said he also hoped that the company would be able to reach agreements with other GPS providers to use the original spectrum block in "a couple of years."

LightSquared has enlisted the help of satellite provider Inmarsat Plc to enable it to prepare the alternative spectrum for use, according to the company.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; editing by Gerald E. McCormick)