LightSquared is the name of a new initiative backed by Harbinger Capital Partners to deliver a next-generation wireless broadband network in the United States through a combination of satellite and terrestrial coverage. It has awarded a $7 billion contract to Nokia Siemens Networks to build and operate the network, which aims to have 40,000 base stations covering over 90% of the population in the United States by 2015.
The deal has been enabled through the acquisition in March of mobile satellite services operator SkyTerra Communications by the Harbinger Capital Partners fund headed by Philip Falcone. “The launch of LightSquared marks a significant milestone in the industry and for Harbinger,” he said.
With the acquisition of SkyTerra, now rebranded as LightSquared, the fund gained access to satellite spectrum that the Federal Communications Commission has also cleared for delivering terrestrial coverage.
The fourth-generation Long Term Evolution network will allow for satellite, terrestrial, or integrated satellite and terrestrial services.
Former Orange chief executive Sanjiv Ahuja will become chairman and chief executive of LightSquared. He described LightSquared as a “disruptive force” in the United States wireless landscape, promising to deliver everyone, including underserved communities, with a fast, reliable experience. “By using satellite coverage, we can ensure constant connectivity, even if the terrestrial network is not available.”
The Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture, which has just acquired the wireless network infrastructure business of Motorola for $1.2 billion, has been awarded a contract worth $7 billion over 8 years to design, build, operate and maintain the network.