Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sprint Puts Investment in LightSquared on Hold

Sprint Nextel Corp. says it has put its investment in a partnership with LightSquared Inc. on hold, since LightSquared has not yet gotten approval from the Federal Communications Commission to redeploy its original satellite spectrum as the foundation for a terretrial Long Term Evolution mobile network.

“The companies have agreed to realigning our deployment timeline to coincide with potential FCC actions,” Scott Sloat, a spokesman for Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint, said. Until approval is received, “both companies believe it is prudent to pull back on expenses,” he said. Sprint Puts Investment in LightSquared on Hold

LightSquared still has not managed to convince the GPS community or military users that its proposed use of former satellite frequencies can avoid interference with GPS receivers. Sprint deal hinges on spectrum approval

Tests continue to show interference issues, though. LightSquared is not the only entity proposing to re-purpose satellite spectrum to build new broadband Long Term Evolution fourth generation mobile networks. Dish Network also is asking the FCC for permission to build a network simialr to LightSquared.

The obvious potential here is the possibility that as many as three brand new LTE networks could be built in the U.S. market, in addition to the networks Sprint, Verizon Wireless and AT&T also are building. Some will argue that is too many 4G networks, but the business models and market segments might be different.

Dish Network will have a primary interest in providing mobile broadband services that augment its moves into new forms of TV distribution. Clearwire's LTE network, as will LightSquared's proposed network, are designed as wholesale platforms for other retail providers to use. 

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