LightSquared and Garmin Ltd. settled their long-running legal fight over whether the wireless venture's Global Positioning System network interfered with receivers made by the Swiss company.
The new LightSquared, which emerged from bankruptcy last week after three and half years under court protection, said the settlement with Garmin sets the parameters on how the GPS and broadband industries can divvy up the spectrum, the limited pockets of airwaves that mobile-phone and Internet companies use.
The Garmin settlement, which comes on the heels of LightSquared's recent settlements with Deere & Co. and Trimble Navigation Ltd., marks the end of a number of disputes between LightSquared and GPS equipment makers over the use of spectrum for ground-based wireless broadband services. The company last week also withdrew its lawsuit against the U.S. government for allowing GPS equipment makers to use spectrum owned by LightSquared.
Under the settlement with Garmin, LightSquared agreed to forgo a portion of its spectrum nearest to the GPS signal and instead will use frequencies that are farther away from the GPS signal. In return, Garmin said it won't object to LightSquared's deployment of its wireless broadband network.
Resolving disputes with the GPS industry has been a key goal for LightSquared Chief Executive Doug Smith as the company looks to roll out its plan for low-cost mobile wireless services to hundreds of millions of Americans. Settling its lawsuit with Garmin, whose GPS-enabled devices are popular in the aviation industry, is another step in the effort.
"We are glad to finally find resolution to these important spectrum issues and are pleased to reach an end to the case against Garmin," Mr. Smith said. "We understand that we need to work with the aviation community to address any outstanding concerns and are committed to working closely with Garmin, the Department of Transportation, the FAA and others in this community to find a similar peaceful coexistence between the two services."
Garmin spokeswoman Carly Hysell said LightSquared's agreement to cut out-of-band emissions and power levels in the spectrum band closest to the GPS signal protects the interests of GPS users, and the company doesn't anticipate any performance-degradation issues for those using GPS-based technologies. As part of the agreement, she said, Garmin will receive a confidential financial settlement and wasn't required to make any payment to LightSquared.
LightSquared has been working to make peace with GPS equipment makers in a bid to show the company's broadband wireless network can coexist with GPS technology. In 2013, Phil Falcone's Harbinger Capital, the hedge fund that then controlled LightSquared, sued Garmin, Deere & Co. and Trimble Navigation Ltd. along with industry groups in federal court claiming their equipment interfered with the LightSquared network.
The company filed for chapter 11 protection in May 2012, shortly after federal regulators refused to clear LightSquared's plans to launch its wireless network. Those regulators were warned by the GPS industry that LightSquared's network could interfere with GPS.
Fortress Investment Group LLC, Centerbridge Partners and J.P. Morgan & Chase Co. now share ownership in the reorganized company. Mr. Falcone maintained a 44% stake in the company but no longer has a say in the wireless venture's operations.