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LightSquared asks to share weather-balloon spectrum for its LTE network

Stephen Lawson | Oct. 1, 2012
Embattled satellite carrier LightSquared proposed on Friday that the government let it share spectrum with federal uses such as weather balloons so it can get enough spectrum to launch its proposed national LTE mobile network.

What LightSquared wants to do is take one 5MHz band that it already uses for its satellite service (at 1670-1675MHz) and combine that with the next band up (1675-1680MHz), which is used for federal purposes including National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration weather balloons. The government could keep using that band, while LightSquared's LTE network would share it.

This would give LightSquared 10MHz for downstream traffic to customers' LTE devices. Another pair of bands that it uses for satellite now, which total 20MHz, would be used for LTE traffic going upstream from users' mobile devices.

The FCC rulemaking that LightSquared wants, which would probably take even longer than setting up the spectrum-sharing plan, would give LightSquared another 10MHz of spectrum so it could offer more data capacity eventually. But the carrier is offering to permanently give up its terrestrial rights to the upper band of the spectrum that it had originally proposed to use for LTE, which is closest to the frequencies that GPS uses.

 

 

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