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LightSquared to cut costs by slashing jobs

Blackberry has announced the departure of three more key management figures.

There was more bad news for US wannabe carrier LightSquared this week, as reports came in that the firm plans to prune 45 per cent of its staff in order to save money. Earlier this week it emerged that satellite operator Inmarsat claimed it had not received a payment of $56.25m from the company.

There’s much talk of bankruptcy – a possibility LightSquared is steadfastly denying – but around 150 staff could soon be out of a job to ensure the “long term success of the company”.

After being served with a notice of default, LightSquared has 60 days to make its payment to Inmarsat, or risk jeopardising the partnership.

The US company is still recovering from a significant blow last week, when the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it plans to indefinitely suspend a conditional waiver that would allow LightSquared to build its ground-based LTE network using satellite spectrum.

The FCC made the decision following a recommendation from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which found that the operator’s mobile broadband network would impact GPS services to such an extent that it would be no practical way to mitigate the potential interference.

It’s been a long running dispute between LightSquared and the GPS proponents, which operate under the banner GPS in America – an organisation Jeff Carlisle, executive VP for regulatory affairs and public policy at LightSquared, said had become “too big to fail.”

“Like Wall Street, the manufacturers of GPS devices have spent years profiting off of vulnerable technology and are now seeking protection from the government instead of implementing the necessary reforms,” he said. “GPS manufacturers have been selling devices that listen into frequencies outside of their assigned spectrum band – namely into LightSquared’s licensed band. This means GPS devices are inherently vulnerable.

“The GPS industry has leveraged years of insider relationships and massive lobbying dollars to make sure that they don’t have to fix the problem they created. We need our supporters to push back on special interests by sending a letter to the FCC and NTIA,” he said.

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