NSN: We're Still in at LightSquared

Nokia Networks has defended its position in LightSquared 's Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in the U.S. and declared that it continues to work with the startup operator, following a report that the operator is considering bringing in other vendors.

According to an article published yesterday on Broadband Reports, LightSquared is considering a tie-up with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) that would result in removing the LTE buildout obligations from Nokia Siemens and handing them to Sprint's "Network Vision" suppliers, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC). Such an arrangement would see Sprint's new multi-modal upgrade project become a key part of LightSquared's network, according to the report. (See Sprint's Hesse on LightSquared & Clearwire, Sprint's 4G Options in Flux and Sprint Ready to Leapfrog to Multi-Mode.)

But that's not how NSN sees the situation with its U.S. LTE customer. The vendor says that it is still working with the operator.(See NSN Lands $7B LTE Deal in US .)

"We continue to work hard with LightSquared to help it ready its first markets and meet its commitments to customers and to other stakeholders," an NSN spokesman said in response to Light Reading Mobile's questions.

Why this matters
NSN's network build and operate contract with LightSquared is valued at $7 billion over an eight-year period, so that's significant. And the startup operator represents an LTE foothold for NSN in the North American market, which is important for the vendor.

But while Verizon Wireless is the biggest LTE rollout in the U.S., LightSquared is perhaps the most questioned. Speculation swirls around LightSquared, particularly regarding which operators will sign up to its wholesale model and how it will fund its network rollout. And the uncertainty around LightSquared's future, coupled with Sprint's lack of clarity about its plans for LTE and Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR), shows just how much the 4G landscape in the U.S. could change yet. (See Harbinger Hatches LTE Challenger in US and LightSquared Eyes L-Band for LTE.)

For more
See these stories for Light Reading's lowdown on LightSquared:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Hassene Akkeri 12/5/2012 | 5:10:40 PM
re: NSN: We're Still in at LightSquared

Lightsquared initiative is innovative and interesting. However, it is still a business; and taking alone the cost of such a huge LTE investment would be a brave but risky project. Teaming with Sprint will help reducing cost for both parties and Lightsquared can take advantage of Sprint's technology expertise to strengthen the project's business case.

The denial attitude of NSN is normal: losing a 7 $billion deal will have a considerable impact on their strategic technology and financial plans.

Yet, who knows, this whole thing may be a negotiation tactic round between Lightsquared and NSN in order to review the price agreements.

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