LightSquared to Launch New LTE NetworkMobile Broadband, Wireless July 21st, 2010
Lindsey Sutphin, Reporter-Researcher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, July 21, 2010- LightSquared, a new broadband wireless data network, is expected to cover 92 percent of the United States population with LTE by 2015.
Private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners announced its LightSquared network on July 20, and is expected to officially launch the network sometime next year. The network will initially start in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Baltimore.
“The launch of LightSquared marks a significant milestone in the industry and for Harbinger. With a strong management team and a world-class partner to build and manage the network, the business is well positioned to capitalize on key trends; demand for wireless broadband is growing at a rapid pace and there is an increasing need for additional network capacity and reach. Importantly, LightSquared will also make a significant contribution to U.S. job growth and the economy” says Philip Falcone, Founder and CEO of Harbinger Capital Partners.
LightSquared is not going to offer traditional cell phone service. Customers can use data connection to make calls. Customers will also not buy service directly from LightSquared. Instead, LightSquared plans to partner with cable television providers and phone networks that do not have their own wireless networks. They will also negotiate with retail providers who want to provide wireless services under their own name and brand.
LightSquared is able to take on such a large venture due to its ownership of nationwide spectrum, which Harbinger was able to procure when it bought satellite company SkyTerra. They also gained ground towers, which the Federal Communications Commission allows spectrum owners to use to back up satellite service.
Nokia Siemens Networks will build, maintain and operate the LightSquared network as a part of a $7 billion contract which will last 8 years.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said he was pleased to learn of the LightSquared network, which has “the potential to create more than 100,000 new private-sector jobs within five years.” He said the launch announcement is proof that FCC policies are helping the United States economy grow.