Frequently Asked Questions
- What is LightSquared?
LightSquared is a new nationwide 4G-LTE open wireless broadband network that will use a unique integration of satellite and terrestrial technology to revolutionize wireless communications in the United States. As the country's first wholesale-only wireless broadband network, LightSquared will provide broadband wireless capacity to a diverse group of partners, including retailers; wireline and wireless communication service providers; cable operators; device manufacturers; web players; content providers; and many others.
LightSquared will deploy its wireless broadband network using LTE, the most widely adopted 4G standard in the world. Its LTE network will be combined with one of the largest commercial satellites ever launched, to provide coverage of the entire United States. This integrated LTE-satellite network is a world first. The LightSquared network has the capacity to support the explosive demand for mobile data generated by new technology, consumer devices and mobile applications.
Through LightSquared's wholesale-only business model, those without their own wireless network or who have limited geographic coverage or spectrum can develop and sell their own products using the LightSquared network—at a competitive price and without retail competition from LightSquared.
- How does LightSquared technology work?
LightSquared will provide 4G wireless broadband services by pairing a nationwide LTE terrestrial network with ubiquitous satellite coverage. LightSquared technology will not only ensure nationwide wireless broadband service, it will also offer an unprecedented platform for innovation and creativity and a unique opportunity for service providers, device and component manufacturers, and retailers.
Preferred LTE Technology
LightSquared is building a 4G-LTE open wireless broadband network that will enable a true broadband experience. LTE, a 3GPP technology standard, is the basis of the 4G network deployments of nearly every major carrier globally.
The LTE standard provides an ecosystem advantage and a superior user experience. From a technology perspective, LTE has a maximum data rate—over 100 MB/second—which enables LightSquared to offer more immediate communication with minimal delay and faster upload and download speeds.
Terrestrial + Satellite = Constant Connectivity
LightSquared is using terrestrial and satellite technology to ensure constant connectivity, regardless of location. LightSquared’s next-generation satellite, built by Boeing, was launched into geostationary orbit over North America in November 2010. Among the largest and most powerful commercial satellites ever launched, this space-based network will provide coverage to users when they are out of cellular range.
LightSquared’s solid spectrum position provides consistent nationwide spectrum for ubiquitous coverage, with improved propagation characteristics and in-building penetration. The development of the LightSquared network offers a compelling value proposition to retail distribution customers who either have no wireless network themselves or have wireless networks with limited geographic coverage, spectrum, or 4G potential.
With its powerful platform and open ecosystem, LightSquared will allow device, application, and service developers to innovate and create new products for customers.
- Are there devices specifically designed for the LightSquared network?
By providing a completely open wireless broadband network, LightSquared is spurring the development of countless new wireless devices and applications and making them available nationwide.
Mainstream Chipsets From Qualcomm
To enable devices to run on the LightSquared network, Qualcomm is incorporating L-Band LTE technology into its mainstream chipset roadmap. Qualcomm has also developed an advanced satellite air interface technology called EGAL (Enhanced Geostationary Air Link), which enables the satellite mode of operation in mobile devices. Qualcomm is adding L-Band LTE and EGAL to standard Qualcomm products, including its MDM9600™ chipset—the world’s first LTE multi-mode solution. Device manufacturers will be able to use these chipsets to create integrated cellular-satellite products for the LightSquared network that are similar to today’s typical mobile devices in terms of size, capabilities, and build costs.
Smartphones and Tablets From Sharp
Sharp, a worldwide leader in consumer electronic products and solutions, has been selected by LightSquared to provide advanced smartphones and tablets which will operate on its 4G-LTE network. Leveraging leading-edge product solutions, Sharp will incorporate an extensive selection of unique device components, such as Sharp’s advanced LCD panel and camera module, to develop a range of innovative devices for LightSquared’s 4G-LTE network partners.
AnyDATA and BandRich Leverage Chipsets
AnyDATA and BandRich, two leading suppliers of wireless communications technology, have been selected by LightSquared to provide embedded modules, USB data modems, and other devices.
Only the Beginning
USB modems, embedded modules, smartphones and tablets are just a small sampling of the kinds of devices that can be configured to use LightSquared’s open wireless broadband network. In 2012, LightSquared’s service will expand to include additional innovative next generation devices. By connecting to the LightSquared network, smartphones and tablets will be able to access an array of applications and services, including streaming high-definition video. And there are a number of new products that will connect any WiFi-enabled device, such as a PC, notebook, netbook, eReader or game console, to the LightSquared network, with many more under consideration and development.
- Where does LightSquared operate?
LightSquared will build a nationwide 4G-LTE wireless broadband network, integrated with satellite coverage, that will provide coverage to the entire United States.
- How is LightSquared different?
Other providers are limited to offering wireless and mobile broadband services to customers strictly via cell phone towers or limited satellite connections. By integrating a national LTE network with ubiquitous satellite coverage, LightSquared will not only offer its partners a new wholesale revenue platform, but will also provide end users with a reliable and fast experience, regardless of where they are in the United States.
LightSquared's wholesale-only business model avoids the conflict of interest that occurs when other wireless operators offer wholesale services in addition to their own retail business. It also allows LightSquared to focus on developing individual, tailored, and cost-effective solutions for its business partners‚—LightSquared will succeed only as it partners do.
- What appeals to partners about LightSquared's competitive position?
LightSquared has the potential to generate attractive returns for partners by:
- Generating significant profit margins while providing partners with incremental, recurring revenue streams
- Capitalizing on the newly exploding demand for wireless data
- Making available a strong spectrum position to partners who do not own enough spectrum to meet the expected demand
- How does LightSquared align with the Administration's goal of bringing broadband to all Americans, particularly those living in rural areas?
LightSquared's plan to provide nationwide 4G services furthers the Administration's and FCC's National Broadband Plan. The U.S. is currently spectrum-constrained. LightSquared expects to build a network that will efficiently use spectrum to carry more data at faster speeds. The deployment and management of the LightSquared network is anticipated to generate more than 15,000 direct and indirect jobs. As stated in the FCC's National Broadband Plan, "Broadband can and must serve as a foundation for long-term economic growth, ongoing investment, and enduring job creation." The LightSquared network will demonstrate the reality of that policy goal.
Building on SkyTerra’s record of public safety services support, LightSquared will continue developing reliable and affordable solutions using its integrated 4G-LTE satellite network. LightSquared will help solve some of the communications and public safety issues the United States has seen during recent national disasters, as well as provide connectivity in rural markets where there is currently no reliable wireless communication. By using satellite coverage, LightSquared can ensure constant connectivity, even if the terrestrial network is not available.
- How is LightSquared addressing the supposed GPS interference issue?
LightSquared will continue to pursue its rights to use its spectrum as originally approved by the FCC as far back as 2004. The company is continuing to invest in technical solutions that will allow its network to exist along with GPS and has proven that the technological solutions can solve interference problems created by GPS devices that look into LightSquared’s spectrum. The company has already invested more than $160 million to resolve these problems.
- How is LightSquared addressing regulatory concerns?
LightSquared remains fully committed to meeting the goals of the Administration’s and FCC’s National Broadband Plan and has invested more than $4 billion to extend competitive broadband access to hundreds of millions of consumers. LightSquared stands by its commitment to continue to work with both government and industry to address legal and technology issues related to the rollout of the company’s nationwide 4G LTE integrated satellite – terrestrial network.