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Sprint partner LightSquared making progress on GPS technology

Tests show that global-positioning devices from three makers won’t be disrupted by the wireless network proposed by Philip Falcone’s LightSquared, Chief Executive Officer Sanjiv Ahuja said.

Preliminary results from an Alcatel-Lucent lab demonstrate the GPS devices surpass performance standards, Ahuja said today at a news conference in Washington. The closely held companies supplying GPS devices for testing were Javad GNSS, PCTel and Partron, according to a LightSquared statement.

The findings prove that LightSquared “is well on its way” to demonstrating that GPS interference concerns are resolved, the Reston, Va.-based company said in the statement. Makers and users of GPS devices, including Olathe-based Garmin, have said LightSquared may disrupt navigation by aircraft, boats, tractors and automobiles, and the Federal Communications Commission is weighing the company’s application.

LightSquared, backed by $3 billion from Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, plans to offer high-speed wireless Internet service to as many as 260 million people on airwaves formerly reserved mainly for satellites.Overland Park-based Sprint and LightSquared have agreed to multi-billion-dollar deal to share both wireless broadband and conventional phone networks. It’s all contingent on LightSquared getting FCC approval for its network.

U.S. officials are weighing data gathered in separate tests and haven’t stated a timeline for determining whether LightSquared may cause unacceptable interference, Moira Vahey, a spokeswoman for the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, said in an e-mail.

LightSquared is to face another round of tests on whether it interferes with high-precision GPS devices, according to a plan laid out by Vahey’s agency, which is part of the Commerce Department and helping to guide the U.S. response to the company’s proposal

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