Friday, March 16, 2012

Sprint Officially Kills LightSquared 4G LTE Deal, Pays Back $65M

Sprint announced on Friday that it has officially canceled its plans to partner with LightSquared as it begins to roll-out its 4G LTE network. Sprint has been patient with LightSquared while the company has battled the FCC for approval to activate its network — pushing back LightSquared’s deadlines several times. Unfortunately, however, the FCC has ruled that LightSquared’s technology doesn’t play well with GPS networks. To LightSquared’s defense, the company has argued that its network was unfairly tested at levels much higher than it would actually operate. Sprint partnered with LightSquared last year in hopes of sharing the costs to deploy LTE 4G mobile broadband networks. Sprint's contract with LightSquared was contingent upon LightSquared gaining FCC approval to operate its network in the L-band satellite spectrum. The FCC revoked LightSquared's provisional waiver and decided that the GPS-related interference risks are too great. Sprint will now forge ahead with long-time 4G partner Clearwire in creating its LTE network. Sprint has agreed to return $65 million in prepayments to LightSquared.

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