LightSquared: GPS interference fix could cost industry $400M

LightSquared Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben has indicated that gear to solve the interference problem between the company's proposed wholesale LTE network in the S-band and high-precision GPS receivers could cost the commercial GPS industry as much as $400 million.

In an interview with Cnet, Boulben said the roughly 500,000 commercial high-precision GPS devices in the U.S. can be outfitted with equipment to cancel out interference at a cost between $300 and $800. LightSquared has said it will incur the estimated $50 million cost to outfit military and other government GPS equipment, but not commercial equipment.

LightSquared has signed a deal with Javad GNSS to develop a system that can be adapted to work with high-precision GPS devices, including those already in the agriculture, surveying, construction and defense industries.

Javad GNSS has completed the design, made prototypes and tested those prototypes. The vendor is expected to have 25 pre-production units released for public tests in October, followed by mass production. High-precision receivers for positioning applications are expected to go to market by November 2011 and precision timing devices by March 2012.

Naturally, the GPS community is opposed to paying. Interestingly, Boulben believes LightSquared can wear down the GPS opponents. He indicated that the GPS industry's position has already changed during the past several months from denying LightSquared's right to existing to now refusing to pay for the new equipment. He believes GPS vendors will eventually change their minds again and come to an agreement.

Earlier this month, LightSquared said it may choose to pursue legal action to make sure it can deploy its proposed terrestrial wholesale LTE network if concerns regarding the network's possible effect on GPS cannot be resolved.

For more:
- see this Cnet article

Related articles:
LightSquared threatens legal action over GPS interference concerns
LightSquared CEO Ahuja defends company in open letter
LightSquared announces GPS interference fix, agrees to pay for government retrofits
Falcone, LightSquared push back against charges of political favoritism
LightSquared draws ire from GOP lawmakers while network remains in limbo
FCC demands more LightSquared GPS interference tests