US-based private equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners has announced plans to build a wholesale LTE network covering most of the country by 2015.
The planned network would be an open-access wholesale network available to any company wishing to offer mobile broadband – including PC makers and retail chains – GigaOM said.
The network will use 23MHz band spectrum owned by satellite company SkyTerra, which Harbinger acquired this week.
Conditions of the purchase stipulate that SkyTerra has to offer wholesale services, and that incumbents AT&T and Verizon cannot jointly own more than one quarter of the traffic over the network.
Harbinger will begin trials in Denver and Phoenix and launch commercial services by Q311.
The firm aims to offers services to 9 million users at launch, growing to 145 million by 2013, when it plans to cover all major markets. Long-term, the firm hopes to have 260 million users by 2015.
Further spectrum from Terrestar Networks, in which Harbinger owns a stake, may be added later.
Harbinger, admits it has not secured funding for the network, but says ambitious plans to secure the cash are already underway.
GigaOM predicts that Harbinger will pursue a partnership with T-Mobile, the fourth-largest US operator.