LightSquared CEO: We are like a wireless utility company

SAN FRANCISCO--At one of his first public appearances since becoming the CEO of LightSquared, Sanjiv Ahuja compared his new company to a wireless utility that will provide wholesale wireless connectivity to any interested parties, whether they are wireless operators, cable companies, retailers or any other type of entity. "This is the introduction of a new business that believes in openness," Ahuja said during his keynote speech at the Open Mobile Summit here.

Sanjiv AhujaAhuja, the former CEO of Orange, added that LightSquared's wholesale partners will have complete ownership of the customer relationship, devices and distribution. "We will remain focused on building a first-in-class network with in-building coverage and ubiquitous satellite coverage."

In fact, LightSquared is preparing to launch its latest satellite this weekend, which Ahuja said is the largest commercial satellite ever launched. Once operational, that satellite will give customers broadband and voice connectivity.

LightSquared, which is backed by private equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners, is planning to build a nationwide LTE network that covers 92 percent of the U.S. population. The company has said its wholesale LTE network will allow for terrestrial-only, satellite-only or integrated satellite-terrestrial services (via the terrestrial and MSS spectrum Harbinger scored through a merger in March with satellite operator SkyTerra).

Also at the Open Mobile Summit, LightSquared partner Nokia Siemens Networks--which inked a $7 billion deal with LightSquared to build and manage its LTE network--announced that the two firms will open an innovation lab in Silicon Valley in 2011.

Related Articles:
LightSquared inks LTE device deals with Nokia, Qualcomm
LightSquared pledges to shake up industry with LTE network
Harbinger's Falcone defends LightSquared's financing
LightSquared obtains more financing, reports strong interest in wholesale model
LightSquared: Can it live up to its wholesale aspirations?
Is Harbinger's $3B bet on LightSquared scaring investors?