NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Nokia Networks has landed a Long Term Evolution (LTE) equipment contract with Harbinger Capital Partners LP , worth $7 billion over eight years.

The deal will be NSN's first significant LTE contract for radio access equipment in the US and follows the vendor's deal to supply IP-Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) equipment to Verizon Wireless for its LTE network.

New York-based investment firm Harbinger plans to build a national LTE network in the US using a combination of satellites and terrestrial mobile broadband and aims to sell capacity on the new network on a wholesale basis to mobile service providers. (See Harbinger Preps LTE Via Satellite, LTE Watch: Harbinger Angers AT&T & Verizon , T-Mobile Talks to Harbinger , and Harbinger Names Head of Wireless BB Venture.)

The new venture will be called LightSquared , and it will be led by Sanjiv Ahuja, former CEO of Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s Orange mobile business.

The LightSquared LTE network is reportedly scheduled to launch in the second half of next year.

The equipment supply deal with NSN, which Harbinger is expected to announce early Tuesday morning, reportedly includes network design, equipment and installation, and network operations and maintenance. The plan would see LightSquared control 59MHz of satellite spectrum, satellites, and 40,000 base stations.

The $7 billion deal with Harbinger follows hot on the heels of Nokia Siemens's news that it has agreed to acquire most of Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)'s wireless infrastructure business for $1.2 billion, in a bid to gain a stronger position in the North American market and inside key US operator accounts. (See NSN Expands in North America With Moto Buyout, Reader Poll: NSN's Best US Fit, NSN to Buy Moto's Wireless Biz for $1.2B , NSN Back in Love With WiMax, and NSN & Moto: It's All in the Execution .)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:29:29 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Stay tuned for our follow-up story and all will be revealed...

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:29:29 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

In the wake of yesterday's news about NSN's acquisition of Motorola's wireless infrastructure business and all the incumbent supplier relationships that go with it, this certainly wasn't the first big US contract for NSN that sprang to mind.

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:29:29 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Whatever happened to TerreStar in the end? They had a similar plan and announced a big deal with NSN for network gear, IIRC.


Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:29:29 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

LightSquared mentions it has 59MHz of spectrum on its website, but not, as far as I can see, which frequency bands nor what the regulatory restrictions are on its spectrum. Important, no?

Edit: Can anyone shed light on what the story is here?


James_B_Crawshaw 12/5/2012 | 4:29:22 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Harbinger owns 49% of Terrestar so I presume they will try to merge it with Skyterra at some point. And if they can raise the money they might buy Inmarsat and merge that in for good measure. 

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:29:20 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Hi James. Thanks. One (big) problem for TerreStar was the need for devices that also support satellite. That's unusual, obviously.

Do you know if LightSquared has the same restriction on devices?

Edit: I see your answer on the other thread. Thanks.

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:29:19 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

Sort of suggests the investment thesis for LightSquared is to get this spectrum re-classified, then?

What's the outlook for the satellite-compatible handsets and associated chipsets? Anyone know?

fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 4:29:19 PM
re: NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US

For years companies have been asking the FCC for more leeway to use their mobile satellite frequencies "auxiliary terrestrial component" as they wanted -- absent the satellite.  The FCC has indicated willingness to do this, so SkyTerra has morphed into LightSquared, and its mobile satellite frequencies will now be used for LTE.

I don't know how much residual satellite capability they'll need to keep going, if any.

This is just the last stage of the Iridium debacle.  Iridium originally got the FCC excited about mobile LEO satellites.  The FCC created Big LEO and Little LEO bands and awarded licenses.  Demand wasn't there.  But rather than let the licenses expire and be refarmed, they appear to be letting the licensees themselves recycle them. Nice work if you can get it.


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