Telecommunications provider AT&T plans to build a new air-to-ground network in the continental U.S. to support faster, fourth-generation (4G) inflight broadband service for airliners and business jets. Avionics manufacturer Honeywell has an agreement in principle to be the exclusive supplier of onboard hardware, the companies said on April 28.
While LightSquared emerged from bankruptcy on July 15, one of its first moves was to ask the bankruptcy judge to keep other investors at bay until December, to allow the company to complete its recovery plan. The judge allowed LightSquared until December 6 to complete the process. However, that didn’t stop one Wall Street heavyweight from raising its initial $2 billion bid to acquire the company’s assets to $2.2 billion, in a struggle between two rival billionaires: Charlie Ergen of Dish Networks; and Philip Falcone of Harbinger Investments, which owns LightSquared.
Harbinger Capital Partners and other entities associated with the LightSquared high-speed wireless Internet access system have filed a lawsuit against Deere & Company, Garmin International, Trimble Navigation, The U.S. GPS Industry Council and The Coalition to Save Our GPS.
Harbinger Capital Partners and other entities associated with the failed LightSquared 4G broadband network filed a lawsuit against Deere & Co., Garmin, Trimble Navigation, The U.S. GPS Industry Council and The Coalition to Save Our GPS. The lawsuit claims that the defendants failed to disclose information about GPS interference problems caused by an adjacent frequency spectrum that LightSquared was allocated to use and seeks $1.9 billion in damages.
LightSquared is slated to exit bankruptcy on May 31, and is required to have its future reorganization plan complete by July15.
Since LightSquared’s bankruptcy last fall, a common perception was that the company had thrown in the towel and the GPS industry could cease looking over its shoulder, breathe a sigh of relief and get back to the navigation business. But that was not to be. In fact, what we have seen is more an extended time-out than a cessation of hostilities, as the combatants consolidated their positions. But neither has offered a cease-fire or surrender.
Just when it seemed that LightSquared and its threat to GPS had finally faded away, following the February withdrawal of its operating licenses by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the company is back again, with new plans and, more surprisingly, a modest degree of FCC support.
Since the withdrawal of approval in February for LightSquared’s planned use of frequencies adjacent to those of GPS to set up a nationwide 4G mobile broadband network, things have recently taken an unexpected turn. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) withdrew LightSquared’s approval earlier this year after transmission tests revealed interference issues with GPS receivers.
LightSquared’s planned nationwide 4G broadband network got yet another reprieve from Sprint today. Last year, Sprint agreed to provide $15 billion to LightSquared for infrastructure needs, with one condition: LightSquared must obtain FCC approval by Dec. 31, 2011. The FCC didn’t come through–saying LightSquared has yet to prove its transmissions will not interfere with GPS signals–but last month Sprint extended its offer until the end of this month. And with barely 12 hours to spare, Sprint again extended this until mid-March.