LightSquared, Garmin Reach Agreement on Use of L-Band for LTE Network

LightSquared today announced that it has reached an agreement with Garmin International, Inc., concerning “spectrum use parameters for terrestrial service in the L-Band.” The agreement marks the latest that LightSquared has hammered out with GPS companies, accords that it hopes will help clear the way for it to deploy a nationwide LTE network.

“Under the agreement, New LightSquared agreed to reduce out-of-band emissions and power levels from currently authorized levels and to file a request with the Commission forgoing terrestrial use on the 1545-1555 MHz band,” the company said in a filing today with the FCC in IB dockets 12-340 and 11-109 that included the settlement agreement. “As long as the new company’s terrestrial deployment plans are consistent with the operational parameters agreed to by the companies in the agreement, Garmin agreed not to object to deployment in the spectrum located in the spectrum bands 1627.5-1637.5 MHz, 1646.5-1656.5 MHz and 1670-1700 MHz  (sometimes referred to as the ‘right hand spectrum’).

“Furthermore, for devices other than certified aviation equipment, Garmin also agreed not to object to deployment in the spectrum band 1525-1536 (the ‘left hand spectrum’),” the filing added. “With regard to certified aviation receivers, LightSquared understands the need to continue to work with Garmin, the FAA, the Department of Transportation, and the rest of the aviation community to address any concerns and commits to do so.”

“We are glad to finally find resolution to these important spectrum issues and are pleased to reach an end to the case against Garmin,” LightSquared Chief Executive Officer Doug Smith said in a news release. “We will provide increased protections for Garmin’s interests by agreeing to power levels on our uplink and downlink frequencies, dialing down our out-of-band emissions, and by requesting that the FCC modify our license to forgo terrestrial use of the downlink band closest to the GPS signal. Because of these commitments to protect GPS interests, we are pleased that Garmin will not object to the new company’s use of its spectrum located between 1627-1680 MHz for terrestrial service.”

Mr. Smith added, “We are also pleased that the added protections at 1526-1536 MHz have addressed Garmin’s concerns for devices other than certified aviation equipment. We understand that we need to work with the aviation community to address any outstanding concerns and are committed to working closely with Garmin, the Department of Transportation, the FAA and others in this community to find a similar peaceful coexistence between the two services. I am confident we can find that compromise over time so these select frequencies can be utilized.”

Mr. Smith told TRDaily that LightSquared’s recent agreements provide a framework for how coexistence between terrestrial and GPS services “can happen.”

The 39-page agreement announced today is the latest with a GPS company that LightSquared had sued but has agreed to ask a court to drop from its lawsuit. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today approved the dismissal with prejudice of Garmin from the lawsuit.

Last week, LightSquared announced that it had reached a spectrum agreement with Deere & Company (TRDaily, Dec. 8). The technical limitations in the Deere agreement are consistent with those in the Garmin accord. Earlier this week, LightSquared and Trimble Navigation Ltd. announced plans to collaborate on a “compromise approach” to resolve matters concerning LightSquared’s spectrum (TRDaily, Dec. 15).

At the request of LightSquared and Trimble, the court dismissed Trimble from the LightSquared lawsuit without prejudice, which means the legal action on the same grounds could be refiled. By contrast, the Deere dismissal was ordered dismissed with prejudice, which is considered a bar to future action on the same issues. The Garmin dismissal was with prejudice.

As it did in the Deere agreement, LightSquared in the Garmin accord agreed to amend, withdraw and refile, or withdraw a number of filings before the Commission, including a 2012 petition for rulemaking concerning GPS receiver standards.

The LightSquared-Garmin agreement also said that LightSquared would seek dismissal of claims against the U.S. GPS Industry Council, which with the Coalition to Save Our GPS has merged into the GPS Innovation Alliance. The council is the last remaining defendant in the LightSquared lawsuit.

LightSquared committed to seeking the council’s dismissal without prejudice upon the dismissal of the Garmin claims and with prejudice when the Trimble claims are dismissed with prejudice.

Garmin did not respond to numerous requests for comment today.- Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily