BARCELONA, Spain--LightSquared, the Harbinger Capital Partners-backed company that is in the process of building a nationwide LTE network, said that it has signed wholesale deals with two U.S. operators and in discussions with three more. In an interview with FierceWireless, Frank Boulben, LightSquared's chief marketing officer said that the company cannot disclose the names of those operators, except with potential investors who agree to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Boulben also said that the company has an agreement with a major retailer that it will name before the end of March.
LightSquared 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 last year with satellite operator SkyTerra).
According to Boulben the company has talked with several operators that are interested in network sharing, an arrangement that has not been popular with U.S. operators but is fairly common in Europe. Boulben described network sharing as a "win win for carriers because it lowers their costs as well."
LightSquared's network construction plans are aggressive. The company is conducting LTE trials in Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix, with commercial launches planned by the third quarter of this year. Nokia Siemens Networks is designing and building the network. Nokia (NYSE:NOK), AnyData and Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) are working on the devices. Boulben showed off two prototype LightSquared devices: a handset and a USB dongle. He said that devices will be commercially available in six months to a year.
LightSquared, which has access to 59 MHz of spectrum, has said its network will consist of around 40,000 cellular base stations covering 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015. The company has yet to publicly name wholesale partners.
- see these LightSquared prototype phones
LightSquared taps Inmarsat for more spectrum
FCC grants LightSquared satellite waiver
PE firm to use MSS, terrestrial spectrum to build out nationwide LTE network
LightSquared agrees to solve GPS interference issues
NTIA concerned LightSquared service could cause interference
Falcone's big bet continues to rattle investors
LightSquared inks LTE device deals with Nokia, Qualcomm
LightSquared pledges to shake up industry with LTE network
Harbinger's Falcone defends LightSquared's financing