LightSquared reportedly has five customers interested in its 4G network, which will compete with Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile and MetroPCS. Meanwhile, Sprint weighs LTE, while AT&T eyes voice over LTE.
wireless company backed by billionaire Philip Falcone's Harbinger Capital
Partners, which last year announced its intentions to launch a "wholesale"
nationwide 4G Long-Term Evolution network-now has agreements with five
customers, according to a Feb. 16 report from Bloomberg
While it has
declined to name names, the customers are "a national retailer, a device
manufacturer, a Website and two carriers," Frank Boulben, LightSquared's chief
marketing officer, told Bloomberg.
Boulben added, has amassed $1.75 billion toward its 4G efforts, and is finished
raising money "in the short term."
The news comes
as officials at Sprint, which is building out the company's WiMax network, keep
their LTE (Long-Term Evolution) options open, and AT&T promises VOLTE
(voice over LTE) capabilities.
In March 2010,
Harbinger purchased SkyTerra, one of a number of companies that have taken
advantage of the 2003 Federal Communications Commission Ancillary Terrestrial
Component Order. Created to help public safety and law enforcement officials,
it allows for simultaneous satellite and cellular services over spectrum
capable of supporting 4G services.
according to Bloomberg, LightSquared received a waiver from the FCC, lifting
the order's satellite requirement. The report added that Motorola Solutions,
the U.S. Department of Commerce and small aircraft manufacturers have expressed
concern that the LightSquared service may interfere with GPS and emergency
Boulben told Bloomberg, "Most of our customers will use GPS, so it's very
important we get this right. Having the FCC waiver is critical."
will be competing with all four of the major U.S. carriers, which now offer 4G
services in various flavors. Verizon offers LTE-based 4G, and T-Mobile and
AT&T offer HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) technology. However,
later this year AT&T will begin rolling out LTE.
Clearwire, offers WiMax; though, noting that LTE is expected to become the
prevalent form of 4G, company executives have said that the capability exists
to roll out LTE alongside Sprint's WiMax network and they're considering it.
At the Mobile
World Congress event in Barcelona, Bob Azzi, Sprint senior vice president of
networks, said the carrier is studying the rate at which customers migrate from
EVDO (Evolution-Data Optimized) to mobile WiMax, in efforts to decide the best
use of its spectrum, Fierce Wireless
reported Feb. 15.
Azzi said the
carrier would decide whether or not to deploy LTE in the next four to six
months; he echoed comments from Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, who during the carrier's Feb. 10 earnings call
the decision would be announced very likely before the middle of the year.
Also at Mobile
World Congress, AT&T CTO John Donovan told Forbes
that the carrier plans to offer customers
VOLTE capabilities in 2013-following Verizon Wireless, which plans to offer VOLTE
in 2012 and MetroPCS, which may offer it later this year.
fifth-largest U.S. carrier and a bit of an underdog, MetroPCS recently also
beat Verizon to the title of offering the nation's first 4G LTE Android phone, launching its Samsung Indulge
could debut the HTC Thunderbolt.
In other LTE
news, Verizon announced Feb. 15 that it was expanding its LTE network to cover
80 percent of the population of Detroit-its first expansion since its 4G
service went live Dec. 5, 2010, in 38 cities and 60 airports.
Detroit "to the future," John Granby, president of Verizon's
Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky regions, said that the technology is changing the way
people work and play, and that this is only the beginning. "It's not about what
4G can do for you," he added. "Rather, it's about what do you want or need it
In 2011, 30
new 4G LTE networks are expected to launch, according to research firm IHS
iSuppli, boosting a mobile infrastructure market
that suffered losses
in both 2009 and 2010.
The Dell'Oro Group reported Feb. 14 that-with a boost from LTE and
ongoing investments in 3G WCDMA (wireless
Code Division Multiple Access)-revenues in the mobile infrastructure market will rise from $34 billion
in 2010 to $42 billion in 2015.