Time Warner Cable is negotiating with Harbinger Capital Partners-backed LightSquared to ink a wholesale LTE deal, according to a Bloomberg report, making the MSO the latest company rumored to be attached to LightSquared.
The report, citing two unnamed sources familiar with the talks, said that no deal is guaranteed. Time Warner currently resells Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX service under the Road Runner Mobile brand. Representatives from Time Warner, LightSquared and Clearwire declined to comment, according to Bloomberg.
Time Warner has been a major backer of Clearwire, which has billed itself as a network of networks, a mantle LightSquared hopes to take up with its LTE network, which will offer both terrestrial and satellite service and is expected to be launched sometime in the third quarter. Time Warner said in late January that its WiMAX offering has produced "not very impressive and pretty inconclusive" results. The company, which has been reselling Clearwire's service since December 2009, said it has 15,000 WiMAX subscribers.
"On wireless again, I think we have been pretty consistent. We are basically exploring whether packaging wireless data with our wireline offerings is something that consumers want, and if there is a formula that people want, so we are trying different models, different products, what have you," Time Warner CEO Glenn Britt said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference call. "To date, I would say our results are not very impressive and pretty inconclusive. So, we are going to stick with that for a while. We are trying to spend not too much money while we are doing it."
LightSquared had a fairly busy week during the CTIA Wireless 2011 trade show. The company said Wednesday it signed a wholesale deal with Best Buy to have the retailer's Best Buy Connect service ride on its LTE network, bringing together another piece of LightSquared's customer puzzle. Best Buy will begin trials on LightSquared's network in the first quarter of 2012. The announcement came a day after the company inked an LTE roaming deal with Cricket provider Leap Wireless (NASDAQ:LEAP).
Still, LightSquared's plans are not without complications. The company is facing pressure over GPS interference concerns on its L-Band spectrum and will need billions of dollars in capital to meet its aggressive buildout timetable. LightSquared is committed to cover 100 million POPs by the end of 2012, 145 million by the end of 2013 and 260 million by the end of 2015. "We are not only committed to meeting these milestones, we are today positioned to exceed them," CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said.
- see this Bloomberg article
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