CricKet Leaps To Clearwire After LightSquared Failure


The failure of LightSquared could go down in history as one of the worst failures in mobile industry history. The Northern Virginia satellite company had a gigantic master plan to roll out a wholesale LTE network over frequencies that used to be used for government and military GPS.

Time and time again LightSquared went back to the drawing board, and then back to the FCC to rid their network of interference still affecting GPS used today. Earlier this year the FCC ruled that LightSquared would never be able to fix the interference.  Immediately following LightSquared laid off more than half of their workforce and their CEO resigned.

LightSquared had already inked wholesale customers. Among them were a multi billion.dollar deal with Sprint, as well as a deal with Leap Wireless to cover over 2/3 of their current CricKet customer base with LTE.

More after the break

In a need release today, San Diego based Leap Wireless announced that they too would be turning to Clearwire, to fill the void from the failed LightSquared deal.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Leap said it will use Clearwire’s forthcoming TD-LTE network to subsidize their own LTE build out.

Clearwire plans to have 5,000 advanced LTE stations deployed across the U.S. By June 2013.  The advanced LTE network that Clearwire is building out, is supposed to get theoretic speeds of up to 100mbps, trumping the,speeds of both AT&T and Verizon’s LTE networks.

“The high-speed 4G LTE networks we are deploying will complement our robust 3G network and allow us to continue innovating value for our Cricket customers,” said Doug Hutcheson, President and CEO of Leap Wireless International, Inc., Cricket’s parent company.  “We believe this agreement with Clearwire provides us with an attractive option to supplement our own LTE build-out strategy and gives us the flexibility to access additional 4G capacity where needed as data-centric devices continue to become more popular.”

While this may be great need for both Leap and Clearwire, Seattle based Clearwire is still in a cash crunch. Clearwire, which was founded by wireless pioneer Craig O McCaw, just raised $1 billion dollars for network build out, which largely came from Sprint. Clearwire had almost gone broke prior to.the most recent cash infusion. Clearwire has already said they may need to raise more money after 2012 to continue network deployment.

Source: Clearwire via FierceWireless