LightSquared's ATC authority was granted several years ago after a process that gave GPS vendors and other opponents a full opportunity to object to the idea of a national, land-based cellular network, Mechanick said. Though a full-scale cellular network may not have been envisioned at that time, it was allowed under the ATC rules, Mechanick said. If the FCC rescinds LightSquared's ATC authority after having gone through the full process, LightSquared might be able to argue that the agency acted capriciously, he said.
The Coalition to Save Our GPS, the main opponent of LightSquared's plan, also filed a lengthy document on Friday commenting on the FCC's plans. The industry group said the agency should act as soon as possible. The FCC has the authority to revisit its past decisions in light of new evidence, and the tests of LightSquared's network last year showed that any significant use of its band may cause harmful interference to GPS, the Coalition said.
The FCC's change of heart over whether LightSquared can build a nationwide terrestrial network will undermine confidence in the FCC's policies and lower the value of spectrum across the wireless industry through uncertainty, the company said. LightSquared said it would be "one of the most disastrous 'bait-and-switch' episodes in the history of telecommunications regulation."
The filing reiterated arguments the carrier has already made repeatedly, saying any interference is not LightSquared's fault, interference tests have been flawed, and the FCC granted LightSquared's predecessor company the right to build a land-based cellular network almost seven years ago.
"This is the one place where all of those different strands of fairness, of law, of technology and policy, are being brought together in one document," Carlisle said.
In the written filing and on the conference call Friday, the company sounded defiant.
"We're right on the law, we're right on the policy and we're right on the technology," Carlisle said. "We are not going away. We're in the process of [revising] our business plan to expand our financial runway to continue to move forward over a period of quarters and years."
Despite LightSquared's charges that its rights have been violated, Carlisle declined to discuss a possible lawsuit in detail. The company still believes it can reach a resolution with the FCC that lets it build a network, and if it can't, "we will examine all of our options," he said.
Carlisle said none of LightSquared's wholesale customers has canceled its contract with the carrier to his knowledge, despite the fact that at least two -- startup FreedomPop and low-cost mobile carrier Cricket -- have signed LTE wholesale deals with Clearwire since the FCC's action last month. LightSquared's network will be available to its customers once it goes live, he said.
"We hope they will hang with us through this, as we resolve this issue," Carlisle said.