Dish, LightSquared place long 4G bets
Both companies want permission to offer both satellite and 4G services
IDG News Service - LightSquared's and Dish Network's proposals to use satellite spectrum for 4G networks aren't necessarily competing for FCC approval, but either one could make the U.S. mobile broadband business more competitive if it clears significant hurdles.
While LightSquared lobbied for its network against fears of interference to GPS (Global Positioning System), Dish last month came up with a plan that is similar in some ways, though without the interference problems. Both face significant build-out costs and a cloudy profit outlook.
Both companies want permission to use the MSS (Mobile Satellite Services) band for land-based mobile data networks without being required to offer a hybrid service, with specialized devices, to all customers. For this, they need waivers from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, which originally set aside the MSS band for satellite services that would not use terrestrial networks except to get around the blocking of satellite signals by buildings in urban environments.
The waivers could help the FCC meet its goal of providing more radio spectrum for mobile broadband and making more high-speed Internet access available to residents of rural areas. The new LTE (Long-Term Evolution) entrants would also serve its goal of increasing competition in the mobile market.
Making satellite viable
With expensive handsets and service plans and relatively slow connections, satellite hasn't proved broadly popular as a consumer mobile technology. LightSquared and Dish both want to transform satellite companies into cellular operators while keeping satellite available as a separate or bundled service. LightSquared plans to only provide its services at wholesale to other carriers, while Dish is interested in selling its own consumer services.
The companies come at the proposition from dramatically different places. LightSquared was formed last year by Harbinger Capital Partners, which acquired satellite phone provider SkyTerra without any former telecommunications experience. Dish Network is a satellite TV provider founded in 1996 that also resells voice and data services and claims 14 million customers nationwide. It gained access to the 2GHz spectrum by acquiring the bankrupt satellite companies TerreStar and DBSD at auction earlier this year.
Dish plans to take advantage of its national sales, support and maintenance infrastructure to deliver its mobile service, and the 4G network it proposes is likely to become part of its broader set of offerings. Dish also plans to use a faster and more advanced technology than LightSquared's, called LTE Advanced, and it wouldn't have its network up and running until later. LightSquared plans to offer services next year, while LTE Advanced is not expected to be available until 2013.
Meanwhile, the frequencies Dish wants to operate on aren't used by GPS, so it avoids the interference issue. This has led some to predict that its plan could be a shoo-in at the FCC, possibly leading the agency to turn down LightSquared's controversial proposal and embrace Dish instead.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Performance Management: The Mobile App Development Playbook This comprehensive 16 page Forrester Research, Inc. report, authored by Jeffrey Hammond, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst, details a number of valuable, commonly...
- New Problems Require Innovative Solutions The mobile market is expected to be worth $25 billion by 2015
- Getting Agnostic about Mobile Devices The idea of being able to interact with customers, prospects, and stay attuned to competitive pressures is not new, but the velocity at...
- Gartner 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery Software See why CommVault was positioned as the #1 leader in Gartner's 2013 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Backup/Recovery software for the 3rd year in...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Mobile Apps White Papers |
As emerging technologies evolve they often find an initial niche in highly specialized scenarios, or in specific industry verticals, before expanding to wider areas of applicability. Within these initial niches, the early adopters can be anything from digital enthusiasts to fashionistas, or they can be folks simply using the technology because it serves a specific need extremely well. (free registration required) more