LightSquared ready to enter the broadband wireless data space

Speaking of competition, Harbinger Capital Partners-backed LightSquared plans to enter the mobile broadband data space and cover 92 percent of the population by 2015.

All hurdles passed--and they are too numerous to mention here--LightSquared plans to get started in competition with Sprint/Clearwire, AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) in the second half of 2011 in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and the ever-popular Baltimore.

The kicker in the deal is that LightSquared won't offer mobile service; it will wholesale access to its networks, being built, maintained and operated by Nokia Siemens Networks as part of a $7 billion contract. This means, according to some industry watchers, an opening for retailers to get into the wireless space as service providers. It also means, according to this publication, that there is another option for cable operators who have not yet signed on to a mobile play or who are being dropped and/or bought out by Sprint. And don't worry about the voice part; if you have a broadband pipe, there's plenty of ways to get VoIP.

The biggest question for LightSquared is technological. While the provider is planning an LTE service, there is always the question of spectrum. LightSquared owns nationwide wireless spectrum that it acquired when it purchased satellite company SkyTerra earlier this year but that's for satellite phone service. The loophole is that FCC rules allow spectrum holders to back up satellite coverage with towers, so LightSquared has a spectrum opening to immediately attack the market.

For more:
- Salon has this story
- and Kansas City Business Journal has this story

Related articles:
Harbinger forges $7B LTE pact with Nokia Siemens
AWS-3: The destination of T-Mobile's LTE network?