FCC approves LightSquared's request to transfer spectrum licenses

LightSquared announced that the FCC approved its change-of-control application, enabling the company to transfer its highly prized mid-band spectrum assets to a newly formed company and "paving the path" for it to exit bankruptcy.

LightSquared launched in 2010 with the goal of building a wholesale nationwide LTE network integrated with satellite coverage, essentially serving as a white label 4G provider for other service providers. But the L-band frequencies it hoped to use are near the band used by GPS, and the FCC revoked its conditional license to operate due to unresolved concerns regarding interference with GPS receivers.

Friday's approval allows the transfer of that spectrum to a "New LightSquared," contingent upon the company's emergence from bankruptcy. LightSquared won approval from a federal bankruptcy court of a restructuring plan in March.

Leadership of the new company includes former Verizon Chair and CEO Ivan Seidenberg, who will serve as chairman of the board. Doug Smith was named CEO of the new company, and former FCC Chairman Reed Hunt will join the board.

LightSquared Founder Philip Falcone and his hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners lost control of the company during bankruptcy proceedings and were not named in Friday's announcement.

However, the new LightSquared must still address the technical concerns regarding GPS interference. And there are legal issues as well due to LightSquared's lawsuits against multiple GPS providers claiming their services interfered with its technology.

"We recognize that our number one job will be to resolve technical issues and liberate scarcely-used satellite spectrum that's actually ideal for the cellular industry," Seidenberg said in a prepared statement. "I am confident we can reach a mutually-acceptable outcome that not only makes industry better off but also benefits consumers of wireless and GPS products."

For more:
- see this LightSquared press release

Related articles:
LightSquared to exit bankruptcy after nearly three years
LightSquared reports settlement talks with Deere, Trimble, but not with Garmin
LightSquared submits interference testing plan to the FCC

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