Inmarsat said today that its partner LightSquared, has failed to pay a $56.25 million instalment. Inmarsat was scheduled to receive the payment from LightSquared after the completion of the first phase of their agreement.
However, LightSquared said final payment was not yet due until Inmarsat replies to several issues that it had raised.
Last week, the FCC revoked LightSquared’s permission to build out its terrestrial network using the same 1.6 GHz frequencies used by its satellites. Tests showed it would interfere with the GPS system used by airlines, the military and others.
Lightsquared is rumored to be seeking a spectrum swap for part of the DOD’s spectrum (1515-25MHz), which LightSquared reportedly pitched to the DoD last month. Lightsquared reportedly hired The McChrystal Group, led by retired four-star general Stanley McChrystal, to make it happen. The upper 10 MHz (1515-1525 MHz) of the Aeronautical Mobile Telemetry band (1435-1525 MHz) is used to develop and test of aircraft and weapon systems, for both government agencies and industry.
Assuming it is reset to its original value under a satellite-only license, LightSquared’s spectrum is worth about $500 million, said Brian Miller of Bloomberg Research. Miller based his estimate on the book value that it had under SkyTerra, before those assets were turned into what is now LightSquared.
After the FCC news, some analysts speculated that bankruptcy may be close at hand for LightSquared, especially after it had earlier warned that it would run out of money early this year.