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LightSquared Links 4G With Airspan Smart Grid

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LightSquared's ambitious 4G terrestrial-satellite project has picked up an important new partner in Airspan Networks, which plans to have an exclusive marketing role for LightSquared's 1.4-GHz wireless network.

LightSquared is working on a nationwide long-term evolution (LTE) network utilizing 40,000 cellular base stations to cover 92% of the U.S. population by 2015. The network will utilize satellites from Sky Terra combined with terrestrial base stations.

Airspan, already a pacesetter in last mile, middle mile, and backhaul solutions, is planning to utilize LightSquared's spectrum for smart grid applications in various utility markets.

Launched by Harbinger Capital Partners, LightSquared recently inked a $7 billion contract with Nokia Siemens Networks to build and operate the network. LightSquared plans to offer satellite-only, terrestrial-only, and integrated satellite-terrestrial service for end users. Harbinger has been piecing the business together in recent months.

First, Harbinger acquired Sky Terra, then did the Nokia Siemens Networks deal, and now has signed Airspan for smart grid and smart utility applications.

Airspan's mission is to address utilities in their geographical markets in a way that helps the utilities establish their own proprietary grid management networks. The goal is for Airspan to take advantage of the operational benefits that come from smart grid applications including load-balancing, grid-optimization, and automation.

Late last month, LightSquared unveiled a team of top managers led by former France Telecom executives including Sanjiv Ahuja. LightSquared has been developing its own proprietary LTE devices and chipsets.