Huge: Hybrid satellite-LTE network launches under the name LightSquared
Following yesterday's announcement that Nokia-Siemens would be acquiring Motorola's wireless infrastructure business for $1.2 billion, Nokia Siemens turns around and announces a $7 billion agreement to deploy, install, operate and maintain the U.S.' first wholesale LTE network from the newly formed company LightSquared.
LightSquared is the name of the multi-billion dollar network Harbinger Capital partners has been planning to build as an alternative for network operators who cannot afford to build an LTE network of their own, like T-Mobile USA. The company will build the network, and then lease it to operators. It will not directly offer services to consumers.
Harbinger recently got clearance from the FCC to use its Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) wireless spectrum as a part of the company's terrestrial mobile broadband network. Most of these licenses came from the group's acquisition of SkyTerra Communications, a satellite communications service.
Because of this licensing structure, Lightsquared will be able to integrate satellite coverage into the terrestrial network, and will let resellers offer terrestrial-only, satellite-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their customers.
"I was pleased to learn of the formation of LightSquared today," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said this morning. "This new nationwide 4G wireless broadband network represents more than $7 billion of new investment, with the potential to create more than 100,000 new private-sector jobs within five years. Today's announcement shows that FCC policies are helping grow the U.S. economy by catalyzing investment and job creation."
Building the LightSquared network is going to be a colossal task. Nokia Siemens Networks CEO Rajeev Suri today said it will be the largest outsourced deployment of a wireless network in U.S. history, and it will consist of approximately 40,000 base stations and cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015.
"LightSquared will be a disruptive force in the U.S. wireless landscape by democratizing wireless broadband services," said Sanjiv Ahuja, LightSquared's recently-named CEO. "We're not only delivering exciting opportunities for manufacturers and retailers, but also real change for consumers, dealers, and service providers. We're providing everyone, including underserved communities, with a fast, reliable experience regardless of where they are located in the United States. This network will return our country to its rightful position as a leader in wireless broadband technology and solidify its reputation as the center of global innovation."