Sprint Nextel has reportedly extended the 31 December 2011 deadline for open access Long Term Evolution (LTE) start-up LightSquared to achieve regulatory clearance from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its planned 4G network. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in July 2011, LightSquared – which is bankrolled by billionaire Philip Falcone – agreed to pay Sprint USD9 billion over the course of eleven years to oversee the rollout of its 4G wholesale network. In an email to Reuters this week, a Sprint spokesman confirmed: ‘We agreed to extend the deadline for 30 days’.
LightSquared intends to utilise satellite spectrum acquired by New York investment firm Harbinger Capital, but before work can commence on the network, LightSquared has to satisfactorily prove to the FCC that it can eliminate interference problems with GPS satellite navigation devices and aircraft flight safety equipment. LightSquared plans to have over 40 million connected consumer terrestrial devices (on a wholesale basis) by 2015, equating to 92% population coverage by that date.