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4G/3G/WiFi

LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

LightSquared said Monday that it has signed on Sharp Electronics Corp. to develop smartphones and more for its planned hybrid satellite and Long Term Evolution (LTE) network.

Sharp will develop smartphones and tablets that use the lower end of the L-Band spectrum, which can be offered to consumers by LightSquared’s partners, including carriers, wireline providers and retailers. The would-be 4G provider is currently awaiting a decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the GPS issues that have plagued its network plans this year. (See LightSquared Anticipates Close to 100 Customers and LightSquared Claims High-Precision GPS Fix.)

LightSquared says that the smartphones will complement its portfolio of USB modems and embedded modules. It plans to show off the first of these offerings at the CTIA Enterprise & Applications show in San Diego next week.

Why this matters
This is the first specific smartphone and tablet deal that LightSquared has inked for its network. In October 2010, the Reston, Va.-based operator said that Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) will develop "data-centric" devices for its network, while AnyDATA Corp. and BandRich Inc. are working on modems and modules.

For more
Bone up on LightSquared's device plans:



— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:52:05 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

FYI, I've asked LightSquared about the status of the Nokia devices...

acohn 12/5/2012 | 4:52:04 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

I see lots of press about this company all of the time.  I have heard them speak at tradeshows, and see lots of press releases, news coverage, etc.


At the same time, I believe they have no revenue, are funded with investor capital and are facing mountains of required capital expenditures to build out a network before getting very much revenue at all. Plus they are spending a bunch of money on compensation, lobbying (recent controversy about influencing testimony), SG&A expenses, and who knows what else.


While long-term, this might be a great network to have in the USA, it smells a lot like Iridium to me.  Iridium's network is in use today with the US Govt. being the largest customer last I read.  However, I do not believe the original billions in invested capital have ever been recovered, instead were written off, and so on...


I would like to see comments from the folks here on how LightSquared might survive and provide a RETURN for their investors versus the failure of Iridum in this area...

opticalwatcher 12/5/2012 | 4:52:04 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

I wouldn't compare them to Iridium. Iridium was planned when there were significant gaps in cell phone coverage throughout the world, even in the Americas and Europe. They didn't plan on how fast those gaps would close, making Iridium irrelavent for most of their potential customers.


Given the spending that you mention, I'd compare it more to the telecom bubble--the Internet was definitely growing, which meant there would be a demand for more networks and equipment, but that doesn't mean that there is an unlimited demand, and that you could therefore have near unlimited spending and you'll still magically make a large profit in the end.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:52:03 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

Leave all the technical and product details aside -- and simply wonder what kind of company would even try to market a white-label cell device, and how it could possibly compete with the marketing dollars of AT&T and Verizon?


The idea sounds good in theory. But in practice -- how could it work to make money for both the operator and for Lightsquared?

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:52:03 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

Leave all the technical and product details aside -- and simply wonder what kind of company would even try to market a white-label cell device, and how it could possibly compete with the marketing dollars of AT&T and Verizon?


The idea sounds good in theory. But in practice -- how could it work to make money for both the operator and for Lightsquared?

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:52:03 PM
re: LightSquared Gets Sharp for Smartphones

Maybe it's a spectrum flip. Get cheap satellite spectrum re-defined as expensive land mobile spectrum. Long term, that *might* work. 


Often difficult to make a non-mainstream spectrum band a success, thou. See Sprint and 2.5GHz.

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