US wholesale 4G startup LightSquared has won key backing from Qualcomm for its satellite-LTE hybrid technology.
LightSquared’s board has also confirmed its $7 billion (€5 billion) agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks, one of the largest ever managed services deals and that Nokia will supply branded, data-centric, devices.
LightSquared says Qualcomm will design chips combining L-Band satellite and LTE cellular and bring them into its mainstream chipset roadmap. Qualcomm will also add its own satellite air interface - named EGAL - into the MDM9600 chipset, the world’s first multimode LTE silicon.
Qualcomm executive vice president Peggy Johnson said device manufacturers would be able to use the chipsets to make cellular-satellite phones at prices comparable to today’s cellphones.
LightSquared, which is backed by private equity firm Harbinger and UK satellite operator Inmarsat, said its board has approved an eight year managed services agreement with Nokia Siemens first unveiled in July.
The network will comprise 40,000 base stations and aims to cover 92% of the US population by the end of 2015.