LightSquared Cries Foul Over Leak of GPS Test Results

 - December 13, 2011, 1:55 PM

Draft data covering recent DOD and FAA tests of cellphones and other consumer GPS devices revealed that 75 percent “experienced harmful interference” when within 100 meters of a LightSquared base station, according to a report in Bloomberg News on December 9. Of 92 receivers tested, 69 were affected, according to the data, showing that “millions of fielded GPS units are not compatible with [LightSquared’s] planned nationwide wholesale service.” The report also stated that, “No additional testing is required to confirm harmful interference exists.” Responding to the report, LightSquared chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja, in a December 12 letter to the chairs of the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (ExCom), accused a “government official” of leaking “portions of internal analyses of ongoing test results. Based on our [LightSquared’s] review of Bloomberg News’ reporting, the leak was based on an incomplete, selective and slanted analysis of the data of the testing of general location/navigation devices.” LightSquared owns two different frequencies in the radio spectrum’s satellite L-Band. Tests earlier this year at the frequency closer to that of GPS showed severe interference. The November tests used LightSquared’s alternate frequency, farther from the GPS frequency where little consumer GPS interference was expected.