updated 01:10 pm EST, Mon January 2, 2012
Sprint gives late extension to LightSquared
Sprint waited until Sunday to give LightSquared a 30-day extension on the FCC approval it needs to implement the LightSquared deal. Waiting until the day after the deadline expired, Sprint now gave the 4G provider until late January to overcome GPS interference claims. It's not clear LightSquared will necessarily make the deadline given a lack of firm updates.
LightSquared is currently hoping to persuade the FCC that it's reckless use of frequencies by GPS device makers, not its own technology, that's causing interference shown in tests. The startup argues that it's using the spectrum it was licensed for while GPS receivers are often stepping into its own territory.
The would-be LTE provider faces a critical need to get approval within the next several months. It has warned it might close in the spring if it doesn't have approval and the cash injection it needs to stay active.
LightSquared is hoping to become not a carrier in the traditional sense but a backbone provider for other, smaller carriers, many of which who have already struck deals on the assumption they would be cleared to go. If the Sprint deal breaks up, it can keep going forward with FCC approval but will have a much harder time with coverage and funding. Sharp's first US LTE devices would face an uncertain future as well.