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4G/3G/WiFi

LightSquared Tees Up $586M Loan Deal

LightSquared has closed on US$586 million of debt, led by UBS AG and JP Morgan, it announced Tuesday, bringing its total raised to more than $2 billion in the past seven months. (See LightSquared Scores More Funding.)

The emerging wholesale Long Term Evolution (LTE) provider says it will use the funding for "general corporate purposes" and the construction of its 4G network. LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said in a prepared statement that the company plans to fulfill "the promise of the National Broadband Plan using exclusively private money."

"Our investors share our belief that now is the time for a wholesale model to succeed, as we will bring desperately-needed 4G capacity to businesses, consumers, government and public safety users through a wide variety of retail partners which will sell services based on our integrated terrestrial and satellite network," he said. "We are deploying the most advanced network while offering service at a lower price, because as a pure wholesaler, we will we will not have retail overhead."

Why this matters
LightSquared plans to go commercial in the third quarter of 2011 and says it has signed up its first customers, including two unnamed carriers, but its launch has a few potential hurdles.

A big one was the need for funding as the company could spend between $1.25 billion and $1.5 billion on its LTE network this year, so Tuesday's round is good news for the wholesaler's financial position. (See Rumor: LightSquared Ready to Spend Big on LTE.)

But the company is also working through concerns that its hybrid satellite and LTE network will interfere with other global satellite systems. LightSquared has had some success with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on issues related to spectrum, but it will have to convince them that its satellites won't interfere with GPS and emergency communications systems used by Federal agencies. LightSquared's wholesale competitor, Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), is also on the hunt for funding. (See Sprint in 'Good' Talks With Clearwire on Financing .) For more
Check out the following stories for more on LightSquared's progress in the U.S.



— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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