LightSquared says next-gen satellite ready to use
Integrated satellite and terrestrial wireless provider LightSquared last week announced the successful testing and acceptance of the company’s SkyTerra 1 satellite from Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems.
“We’re happy the satellite worked out fine,” LightSquared spokesman Tom Surface said. “We had a beautiful launch. We had some anxious moments when the antenna didn’t unfurl all the way, but the engineers worked through that problem and got it operational at 100%. We’re very pleased.”
During the next three months, LightSquared — previously known as SkyTerra and Mobile Satellite Ventures — will be migrating its existing customers from its legacy satellite system to the massive next-generation satellite, which will allow users to access the network with devices that are comparable with today’s form factors associated with cellular networks, Surface said.
LightSquared plans to provide three types of wholesale service — a satellite-only offering, an integrated satellite/LTE terrestrial offering and an LTE terrestrial-only offering, Surface said. All devices operating on the LightSquared network will contain a Qualcomm chipset that would allow a user to access both the satellite network and the terrestrial network. LightSquared’s carrier customers will determine which services are made available to potential customers and the price of those services, he said.
“We will not be a retailer, and we will not compete with our customers — they are partners, really — who will be servicing the end users,” Surface said.
Launched in November, the SkyTerra 1 has a 22-meter L-band antenna and will relay signals to and from four LightSquared gateways in the United States and Canada, according to a company press release. LightSquared plans to launch a second next-generation satellite to support the network, but a launch date has not been chosen yet, Surface said.
“The acceptance of our SkyTerra 1 satellite and successful network commissioning is a quantum leap forward toward creation of LightSquared’s next-generation integrated network, the world’s first to combine satellite and terrestrial technologies,” LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said in a prepared statement.
“The LightSquared network will empower our company to offer 4G speed, value and reliability while enabling universal wireless connectivity throughout the United States and Canada. We also would like to commend our partner Boeing and their subcontractors for their dedication and professionalism in successfully delivering a great satellite network.”
For more information on satellite’s use in communications, attend these sessions at IWCE in Las Vegas, March 7-11, 2011.