LightSquared Closes $586 Million Round Of Financing


4G wireless broadband wholesaler-to-be LightSquared says it has closed on its latest round of financing, to the tune of $586 million.

The company, which has raised over $2 billion in debt and equity, says it will use the money to build out its network, which is right in the wheelhouse of a big push from the Obama administration. LightSquared will combine satellite and terrestrial delivery to provide wholesale LTE broadband access to cable operators, device manufacturers, retailers and others.

The President has been stumping over the past several weeks for his National Wireless Plan --announced in the State of the Union speech, which calls for rolling out 4G wireless service to 98% of the population within five years. That works for LightSquared, which is targeting 2015 for its nationwide 4G service that will reach more than 90% of the country, says the company.

Private equity firm Harbinger Capital Management, which is headed by Philip Falcone, owns LightSquared.

LightSquared last week said it had completed post-launch testing of the SkyTerra 1 satellite that launched Nov. 14, 2011. The satellite will relay high-data-rate signals to Light Squared head ends in the U.S. and Canada.

The Federal Communications Commission last month granted LightSquared's request for a waiver of commission rules to provide the combination satellite/terrestrial service. The FCC conditioned the waiver, which allows the dual service to offer terrestrial-only devices as well, on working with the agency, NTIA and other agencies to resolve a number of issues, including potential interference with GPS receivers.

"In approving this transfer of control, we observed that if LightSquared successfully deploys its integrated satellite/terrestrial 4G network, it will be able to provide mobile broadband communications in areas where it is difficult or impossible to provide coverage by terrestrial base stations such as in remote or rural areas," the FCC said in approving the conditional waiver.

That would further the FCC's National Broadband Plan public interest goals, a point the FCC made in granting the approval and that LightSquared points out on its Web site.