LightSquared is holding negotiations with Sprint Nextel to lease Sprint’s cell sites and network equipment in a bid to build out its wholesale LTE network faster, according to a Bloomberg article.
The report, which cited three unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that a deal with Sprint could allow LightSquared to build out its network faster and more cheaply, and that Sprint’s network modernization project will provide extra network capacity that LightSquared can use.
The discussions between LightSquared and Sprint may not result in a deal. It could just be positioning. Whether the Sprint deal would put the kibosh on the Lightsquared/NSN agreement, is the question, says satellite consultant Tim Farrar.
Meanwhile, Dish Network, the second- largest U.S. satellite-TV provider, agreed to buy bankrupt 2-way satellite provider ICO, now reorganized as DBSD North America, for about $1 billion, reports Bloomberg. The transaction is still subject to approval by the FCC and the courts, but may allow Charlie Ergen to create a new nation-wide, terrestrial LTE network that could compete with Philip Falcone’s LightSquared, on the 1.6 GHz L-band.
Lightsquared says it intends to conduct 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. LightSquared, has agreements with five customers to provide wholesale fourth-generation service, the company’s chief marketing officer said last week.
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