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LightSquared CEO Leaves

Phil Harvey
2/28/2012

LightSquared says its CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, has resigned and the company has started looking for his replacement. The news comes just a few days after it laid off nearly half its workforce as a cost-saving measure.

Chief Network Officer Doug Smith and CFO Marc Montagner will assume Ahuja's duties for the time being. Also, LightSquared said today it has appointed Harbinger Capital Partners LP CEO Philip A. Falcone to its board of directors.

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— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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wanlord
wanlord
12/5/2012 | 5:41:14 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


He is going to hang out with Captain Schettino...

joanengebretson
joanengebretson
12/5/2012 | 5:41:14 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


Has anyone else found the LightSquared story to be a sad one?


It would have been nice if the idea of a nationwide 4G wholesale-only carrier could have worked. Ultimately LightSquared might even have been able to serve the big nationwide wireless carriers who have been complaining so much about spectrum shortage.


But Ahuja's departure seems to be the final throwing in of the towel for a company that seemed like it was never going to stop trying to make its idea become real.


 

kaps
kaps
12/5/2012 | 5:41:13 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


If there is any sadness, it's that this team didn't ever seem to have its act together, business wise or regulatory wise. The wholesale idea in theory works well but in practice there just isn't a lot to recommend. I for one could never figure out how someone -- anyone, Apple, Walmart, whatever -- was going to be able to make money by paying LightSquared on the back end and competing against Verizon and AT&T on the front end.


I still haven't heard any explanation of how this might work. If there was a business model that made sense you think it would have behooved someone to do a deal with Clearwire first, since their network actually exists and has plenty of room to grow, spectrum-wise. Maybe that is still the case with the "free" thing that the old Skype guys are planning. But LightSquared wanted everyone to believe first. That's a lot of faith in an industry full of cynical reality.


And... I believe we called Ahuja's exit a month ago. Inevitable, really.

kaps
kaps
12/5/2012 | 5:41:13 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


If there is any sadness, it's that this team didn't ever seem to have its act together, business wise or regulatory wise. The wholesale idea in theory works well but in practice there just isn't a lot to recommend. I for one could never figure out how someone -- anyone, Apple, Walmart, whatever -- was going to be able to make money by paying LightSquared on the back end and competing against Verizon and AT&T on the front end.


I still haven't heard any explanation of how this might work. If there was a business model that made sense you think it would have behooved someone to do a deal with Clearwire first, since their network actually exists and has plenty of room to grow, spectrum-wise. Maybe that is still the case with the "free" thing that the old Skype guys are planning. But LightSquared wanted everyone to believe first. That's a lot of faith in an industry full of cynical reality.


And... I believe we called Ahuja's exit a month ago. Inevitable, really.

joset01
joset01
12/5/2012 | 5:41:10 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


On the wholesale thing, if Best Buy was going to bundle a data package with the laptops and tablets it sells then I guess that LightSquared would have been cheaper than VZ or AT&T. I certainly think Clearwire will be.


The reason that people didn't want to deal with Clearwire is that Clearwire's future also looked pretty shaky 'til late last year. Clearwire is also -- rightly -- percieved as Sprint's poodle.


LightSquared was pushing itself as the independent antidote to all that. What's shocking is that Sprint and Best Buy apparently did screw all due diligence on the spectrum that LightSquared had its waiver on.


It was pretty obvious that L2 was going to be in for the fight of its life to actually use that spectrum *before* Sprint inked the deal. What the hell was that about? Another reason for Hesse's head to roll?


That's what the real answer to this is. If you have the spectrum you can make anything work. The real sadness of LightSquared isn't the company, although the people burnt by it probably don't feel too good right now, its basically that there seem to be decreasing options for new companies to get into the wireless business.


Without Sprint/CLWR and T-Mobile we'd be looking at a spectrum duopoly. Given the sheer size of AT&T and Verizon you could argue that we're already not far off.

Flook
Flook
12/5/2012 | 5:41:06 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


Don't have any details on L2's business plan--so no way of taking a position on whether it would or would not have worked. But they sure did have a lot of partners, so I guess some people thought the L2 wholesale-only model would fly.


 


L2 was probably more a victim of political hardball than the GPS inteference issue.

krishanguru143
krishanguru143
12/5/2012 | 5:41:06 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


Hesse probably had a plan.  He could have inked a deal with LS but there were a lot of outs for Sprint; one is that LS had to get approval.  Hesse probably knew that was not going to happen.  The deal with LS was probably at a very cheap rate compared to Clearwire.  So if LS did get the approval, Sprint has a cheaper 4G network to use.  I'm sure after they inked the deal with LS, Sprint went to Clearwire and asked for better rates and got them.  So Hesse was justing playing one off the other to get better rates for Sprint in general.  If LS did get the approval, Sprint wins.  If they didn't, Sprint still wins.  Sprint had nothing to lose in this.  I never heard that any money was actually paid to LS by Sprint.  So what is Sprint out by LS not getting the approval?

krishanguru143
krishanguru143
12/5/2012 | 5:41:06 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


If they would have purchased the correct spectrum, they would have had a go.  They tried to game the system and lost.  So no, I'm not at all sad.

krishanguru143
krishanguru143
12/5/2012 | 5:41:05 PM
re: LightSquared CEO Leaves


LS played the political game too, that is how they got the conditional waiver to begin with.  That conditional waiver was pushed through as well.  LS just didn't have the political connections to keep it going.  They played the game and lost.

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