LightSquared-which plans to launch a wholesale-only integrated 4G LTE wireless broadband and satellite network-announced that it has received $265 million in new funding.
LightSquared, which has raised more than $2.3 billion over the past 12 months, said it plans to use the latest capital injection for general corporate purposes, including the construction of its 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) wholesale network. The latest funding round comes from new and existing investors.
“This latest round of financing signals another endorsement by the financial markets of our business model, and LightSquared’s intent to use private capital to build out a new network to meet the growing demand across this entire nation for wireless broadband access,” Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and CEO of LightSquared, said in a statement.
As a wholesale-only operator, LightSquared plans to deploy an open 4G network to be used by existing and new service providers to sell their own devices, applications and services, which the company said it could deliver at a competitive cost and without retail competition from LightSquared. The deployment and operation of the company’s network represent more than $14 billion of private investment over the next eight years.
The company 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.
Sprint, through Clearwire, offers WiMax. However, company executives-noting that LTE is expected to become the prevalent form of 4G-have said that the capability exists to roll out LTE alongside Sprint’s WiMax network and they’re considering it.
LightSquared recently presented a modified spectrum plan to the Federal Communications Commission and proposed a solution to an ongoing GPS interference issue. The plan will serve as a foundation for the construction of a new wireless broadband network that will bring additional Internet service to the United States, including rural areas and other underserved communities and “inject new competition in an increasingly consolidating wireless market.”
The company’s proposal, which outlines a three-part solution for resolving GPS interference issues, was detailed in recommendations filed with the FCC last week. GPS device test results, which were also filed with the FCC, suggest that the interference is caused by the GPS device manufacturers’ decision over the last eight years to design products that depend on using spectrum assigned to other FCC licensees.
“This issue will be resolved by good data, smart engineers and good-faith problem-solving dialog,” Ahuja said. “The end result will be continuity for the reliable and safe GPS system we have come to depend on along with a new high-speed wireless network that will provide huge benefits to consumers.”
LightSquared is proposing that it use the lower 10MHz of the L-band spectrum the company was given for its 4G LTE service and that it reduce the power to 10 percent of what the FCC originally authorized. According to LightSquared executive vice president Martin Harriman, this would mean that the LightSquared transmitters would only produce about 1,500 watts of radio power, versus the 15,000 watts the FCC originally authorized.