Nokia Siemens Networks has won an 8-year agreement worth US$7 billion to deploy, install, operate, and maintain an LTE network on behalf of Harbinger Capital Partners. The network, to be called LightSquared will be offered on a wholesale basis to operators and doesn’t plan to sell direct to customers.
The LightSquared network will allow these partners to offer satellite-only, terrestrial-only, or integrated satellite-terrestrial services to their end users.
The network, consisting of approximately 40,000 cellular base stations, will cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015.
The driving force behind LightSquared is Philip Falcone, founder and chief executive officer of Harbinger Capital Partners, who foresaw the explosive demand for wireless broadband connectivity generated by new devices and the mobile Internet. To meet this demand and make his plan a reality, Falcone made several investments through the Harbinger funds, including the acquisition of SkyTerra Communications, now part of LightSquared.
Falcone said, “The launch of LightSquared marks a significant milestone in the industry and for Harbinger. With a strong management team and a world-class partner to build and manage the network, the business is well positioned to capitalize on key trends; demand for wireless broadband is growing at a rapid pace and there is an increasing need for additional network capacity and reach. Importantly, LightSquared will also make a significant contribution to U.S. job growth and the economy.”
Falcone has partnered with former Orange CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, who will lead the LightSquared team as chairman and chief executive officer.
LightSquared controls valuable high quality spectrum assets of 59 Mhz of nationwide spectrum in an advantageous frequency position. In addition to the $2.9 billion of assets already contributed by Harbinger Capital Partners and affiliates, LightSquared is announcing additional debt and equity financing of up to $1.75 billion.