Sprint cancels LightSquared LTE deal

The end of the planned 15-year partnership leaves LightSquared without its main network partner

Sprint Nextel has terminated its 15-year spectrum-hosting agreement with LightSquared, eliminating the would-be wholesale mobile operator's main carrier partnership even as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission seeks to shut down its network plans.

The deal, which the companies announced last July, called for Sprint to host LightSquared's controversial 1.6GHz spectrum on its Network Vision infrastructure, in effect letting LightSquared piggyback on Sprint's network and save itself US$13 billion over eight years. For this, LightSquared was to pay Sprint $9 billion in cash and grant it $4.5 billion worth of credits to use LightSquared's spectrum for its own services.

Sprint extended the partnership twice from its original termination date at the end of last year, and the deal expired on Thursday. In a statement on Friday, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier cited the unresolved GPS (Global Positioning System) interference issues that have prevented LightSquared from receiving FCC approval for its LTE network. On Feb. 14, the FCC proposed steps that would shut down LightSquared's hybrid satellite-LTE network plan.

"We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders," Sprint said. Sprint has returned $65 million in prepayments that LightSquared made to cover costs that Sprint never incurred. The companies had halted deployment design and implementation on the project late last year.

Sprint said its Network Vision rollout remains on schedule, with a Sprint LTE service launch set for the middle of this year, and the termination of the deal won't have a material effect on its finances.

In a statement, LightSquared said the cancellation was in the best interest of both parties, given the regulatory delays. The change will enhance LightSquared's working capital and give it more flexibility, the company said.

"Sprint has been a valued partner to LightSquared and we look forward to working together in the future," said Doug Smith, chief network officer and interim co-CEO, in the statement.

The deal with LightSquared was one component of a complex plan by Sprint to bring together enough spectrum to offer a robust LTE service. Sprint also plans to reuse spectrum currently devoted to other services and to coordinate its LTE plans with Clearwire, in which it is the biggest shareholder.

Clearwire currently supplies Sprint's WiMax 4G network, and it plans to build its own LTE network. Since the FCC acted to shut down LightSquared's LTE plans, two wholesale customers of the startup have signed agreements with Clearwire.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?