LightSquared Lands $850M for LTE Build

LightSquared announced today that it has secured $850 million in debt, which it will use to build its national, wholesale Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the US. (See LightSquared Secures $850M Funding.)

The company also revealed today that it has signed up the first wholesale customers for its LTE network and that it is in "advanced negotiations with numerous potential customers." LightSquared did not identify these first customers, but speculation has swirled around who will use its new network.(See SK Telecom Talks to LightSquared and T-Mobile Talks to Harbinger .)

With the additional $850 million, which marks the first round of a syndicated, secured credit facility arranged and led by UBS AG , LighSquared has received more than $2 billion in equity and debt proceeds and in "commitments," according to the company.

And they're going to need it: The company, which is backed by Harbinger Capital Partners LP , plans to build a hybrid satellite/terrestrial LTE network that will cover 92 percent of the US population by 2015. LightSquared has contracted Nokia Networks for the LTE network equipment in a deal worth $7 billion. (See Harbinger Hatches LTE Challenger in US, LightSquared Eyes L-Band for LTE, LightSquared Reveals More Spectrum Plans, and NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US .)

The company's ambitious plan and unique business model landed it a place on the finalist list for Light Reading's Leading Lights awards this year. (See Leading Lights Finalists: Private Company of the Year and Light Reading's 2010 Leading Lights Finalists.)

With the influx of new funds and signs of demand from service providers, LightSquared said that it will accelerate an implementation agreement that it has with Inmarsat. That means LightSquared will get access to Inmarsat's spectrum sooner than it had originally planned and will soon owe Inmarsat annual lease payments.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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