Nokia Scores $7 Billion Deal To Build LTE Network
Harbinger LTE/Satellite network project rattles forward
As we mentioned in March
, Harbinger Capital Partners owns a satellite subsidiary by the name of SkyTerra -- who just so happens to have the spectrum necessary to build a national LTE network. Harbinger wants to go wholesale, proposing conditions to the FCC
that would prevent AT&T or Verizon from using the new company's spectrum without FCC approval, or consuming more than 25% of the new network's total traffic. GigaOM's Stacey Higginbotham, who is doing the best job covering this story of anyone we've seen, notes that Nokia has won the $7 billion contract to build the LTE network
, now officially named "Lightsquared":
In a deal valued at $7 billion over the next eight years, LightSquared, backed by Harbinger Capital Partners, has hired Nokia Siemens Network to create a wholesale 4G wireless network on its behalf using satellite and terrestrial coverage that will cover 260 million people in the U.S. by 2015. LightSquared is the new name for mobile satellite communications service SkyTerra, and along with the NSN deal, the company also announced its executive team, as well as the fact that it had raised part of $1.75 billion in debt and equity from unnamed investors to begin construction of the network.
As Higginbotham notes, there's a lot of moving parts necessary for success, and the project faces tight spectrum holdings, as well as reliance on (in part) satellite broadband connectivity -- a sector most of our readers know well is littered with failures on the broadband front. Lightquared sent us an e-mail this afternoon claiming the network will consist of approximately 40,000 cellular base stations and cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015. There's more detail at the new Lightsquared website