The goal of LS is to create from scratch a nationwide 4G wireless network – and funder Philip Falcone thinks they can do it for about $15B. That’s a pretty impressive number, in my book, especially when compared to how much AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have spent over the last decades building-out their networks.
The ars article points-out that the GPS industry is upset that LS is using a similar spectrum to the one used by the global position satellite system, and are worried it will make GPS receivers act poorly by overpowering the satellite signal.
Personally, I think that if your devices are built so poorly that a non-identical signal can interfere with their functionality, you have an issue on your hands – not on the hands of the folks with the similar signal. Also, LightSquared could take it upon themselves to be a private, terrestrial location service – either by repeating signals from the GPS constellation, or by adding location data to the signal they are broadcasting (40 000 towers with multiple antennae per tower ought to be able to send some useful data over the air along with everything else being carried).
Moving back to the future of the business, it looks like a very exciting time in the telecom industry in the US – like we may finally get some “real” competition to the Big Three already operating. If AT&T’s T-Mobile acquisition goes through, cell phone and wireless broadband competition would be hurt – so I’m thrilled that groups like LightSquared are coming out to play, too.