Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) will confirm its reported network-sharing deal with LightSquared when it announces it second-quarter earnings on July 28, according to a report in CNET. The article, which cites unidentified sources who are familiar with the deal, said Sprint was supposed to provide an update on its next-generation network plans at mid-year but pushed back those plans and will now announce them when it releases its earnings.
Last month Bloomberg reported Sprint had reached a 15-year network-sharing deal with LightSquared worth around $20 billion. Bloomberg cited a letter written by Philip Falcone to Harbinger Capital Partners investors that said Sprint and LightSquared will jointly build LightSquared's nationwide network, and Sprint will be a wholesale user of LightSquared's LTE network. However, neither Sprint nor LightSquared confirmed the reports.
Sprint currently resells Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) WiMAX network for its 4G service so this rumored deal with LightSquared calls into question the future of that relationship. For Sprint, this deal with LightSquared could be the carrier's response to Verizon Wireless' (NYSE:VZ) LTE buildout and AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) planned LTE deployment.
For LightSquared, the deal represents further affirmation of the company's business model and technology. LightSquared has inked deals with Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP), Best Buy, Cellular South and Open Range. However, an agreement with Sprint would certainly strengthen LightSquared's business strategy. Meanwhile, LightSquared's planned network is still under fire from the GPS community for potentially interfering with GPS receivers.
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