The advent of more accessible wireless Internet connectivity has been a boon for consumers in the far-flung corners of the world. But according to a suit filed by LightSquared on Nov. 1, its development of 4G LTE services was not in the best interest of global positioning system manufacturers, who LightSquared argues made a concerted effort to block the company’s successful deployment of wireless networks that would bring connectivity to underserved areas.
In the complaint, LightSquared claims that several GPS manufacturers as well as industry groups undermined its investment in the development of network architecture by conspiring to suppress information that the network it was building could be disruptive to GPS networks. Because of issues with interference, LightSquared was unable to obtain certification for the 4G LTE networks with the Federal Communications Commission, and ultimately had its license to use the wireless spectrum revoked.
The plaintiff claims that this information was intentionally released after it had poured billions into infrastructure and technology for its services, and directly resulted in its bankruptcy. In the filing LightSquared said, “The Defendants engaged in a calculated effort to block the deployment of a new wireless broadband network that would serve millions of underserved consumers at lower prices while increasing competition and innovation in the wireless industry.”
A similar suit was filed by LightSquared’s parent company, Harbinger Capital Partners, in August. This suit sought $1.9 billion dollars in damages, claiming that it had worked with GPS makers to mitigate the interference issues for devices using its network, but ultimately being thrown under the federal regulation bus by these same companies. While there are slight differences between the two suits, they are both based on concerns that these manufacturers hid information crucial to the future of the LightSquared network.
Currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, LightSquared has been auctioning off assets in an attempt to recoup the money it invested in the development of its network project. While the company is expected to make billions of dollars selling these assets, it claims that it would be more profitable had it been able to maintain certification for the use of wireless spectrum.
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