What Mobile Niche is Left for New LightSquared to Conquer?

Charlie Ergen appears to be right when he quips about bandwidth being valuable because they aren't making any more of it. Ergen personally was paid about $1.5 billion to relinquish his claims on LightSquared, because of debt he owned in the company.

Now LightSquared asked the FCC to transfer spectrum licenses to the entity to be known as New LightSquared, allowing a new company to try and build a successful business.

But New LightSquared still needs to figure out what lucrative new niche remains unfilled, and try and fill that spot in the ecosystem before a combination of mobile operators, satellite operators, cable TV companies and Wi-Fi-based service providers essentially fill all those unmet needs.

The original business plan was to "re-purpose" satellite frequencies to support terrestrial mobile operations. That plan came undone when claims of signal interference with GPS devices was raised, successfully, an an objection.

It remains unclear whether the new company will try some other form of terrestrial service, without using the GPS-infringing frequencies, or revert back to its old business plans for mobile satellite service.

Ivan Seidenberg, a former chairman of Verizon Communications Inc., and Reed Hundt, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, have joined the board of New LightSquared, so we might find out whether it is possible to create a successful business out of LightSquared spectrum.

Is there yet a viable niche for a mobile communications service, at a time when terrestrial mobile networks so dominate most communications and new services substantially or completely dependent on Wi-Fi are operating.

There are specialized Long Term Evolution and other networks that specialize in supporting trucking, oil industry and other vertical niches, for example, though some think New LightSquared will go with some sort of niche, vertical market strategy.


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