LightSquared CEO Ahuja confirms talks with Sprint

LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja confirmed that his company has held negotiations with Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), but declined to discuss the status or nature of the talks. 

LightSquared CEO Sanjiv AhujaIn an interview broadcast Friday with Bloomberg TV, Ahuja said the wholesale LTE provider has been talking with a wide range of industry players, including wireline providers, rural wireless carriers and the public-safety community. "We are also working in a deeper relationship with some of the operators," he said. "We have had conversations with Sprint. But if we have something to announce we will be back here." 

Numerous reports have indicated that LightSquared will sign a multi-year, network-sharing deal with Sprint.

Ahuja touched on a range of hot-button issues facing the company and its nascent LTE network, including concerns that the network will interfere with GPS receivers. Two government reports said last week that tests showed the network caused GPS interference, especially in the upper portion of LightSquared's L-band spectrum, which sits adjacent to the spectrum used by GPS. A report on the issue is due to the FCC Wednesday, and the FCC must certify that the issue has been addressed before LightSquared can begin commercial operations.

"We expect that as a follow-on to that, wonderful engineers in this country will be able to figure out a way so that GPS community, GPS devices, live within the spectrum that has been allocated to us, while we can build our products and provide service to our customers within the spectrum that has been allocated to us," Ahuja said.

Although he did not define what exactly that solution might be, Ahuja said the company is working closely with the GPS community and is committed to finding a solution and rules that both sides can live by. Some have said one possible solution would be for LightSquared to launch its operations in different spectrum, a possibility that Ahuja seemed to rule out.

The FCC has mandated that LightSquared cover 260 million POPs by the end of 2015. Despite the hurdles facing the company, Ahuja said he is confident the company "will be able to get it done 12 to 18 months ahead of that schedule. So we are moving very rapidly toward building this network."

For more:
- see this Bloomberg TV video

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