CTIA: LightSquared lands Best Buy; wholesale commitments start to rack up
Total signed contracts now number 5, including a Tier 1 device vendor that wants to break free of the operators
ORLANDO -- The GPS industry and financial analysts may be questioning whether LightSquared can move ahead with its nationwide long-term evolution (LTE) network plans, but the privately-held operator’s future customers certainly aren’t. Today LightSquared announced its biggest wholesale mobile broadband customer to date in Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and said it had under contract a major device maker looking to use LightSquared’s LTE capacity to offer service independently of the operators.
LightSquared CEO Sanjiv Ahuja announced the Best Buy partnership during his keynote address at CTIA Wireless, saying the big box retailer would use the LTE network as the access component for its Best Buy Connect mobile broadband service. Best Buy and LightSquared will conduct their first trials in the first quarter of 2012 after LightSquared’s first networks go live. Best Buy already has a wholesale relationship with Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) for WiMax and Sprint (NYSE:S) for EV-DO 3G coverage (CP: Best Buy deal just the beginning of Clearwire’s wholesale ambitions). It’s still unclear whether Best Buy would continue its relationship with both operators once LightSquared’s network rolls out, though there’s certainly nothing to prevent Best Buy from offering multiple broadband services using different technologies from different partners.
Earlier this week, Leap Wireless announced plans to use LightSquared’s network as a complement to its own Cricket LTE service (CP: Leap taps LightSquared for LTE roaming), using LightSquared for roaming outside of its territory and to provide back-up capacity when needed within its footprint. Earlier this month, Open Range Communications and LightSquared agreed to a spectrum and network sharing partnership (CP: Open Range does 180 on network plans).
In a separate interview, LightSquared Chief Marketing Officer Frank Boulben confirmed that LightSquared had two more customers committed to launch over its network, though he said he could not reveal their names. One of those customers, however, is a Tier 1 mobile device vendor that intends to launch its own branded wireless service in the U.S., which would allow it to cut itself free from U.S. operators entirely or offer an alternate means of bring its connected devices to market. Consequently the vendor is keeping its plans close to its vest, Boulben said.
“They don’t want the carriers to know until closer to launch,” Boulben said.
Beyond signed deals, LightSquared has discussed possible partnerships with 60 companies, ranging from cable providers to regional operators like Leap and from retailers like Best Buy to media brands. “A number of companies have told us ‘We had given up on entering the market place in the U.S.,’ but now they’re reconsidering,” Boulben said.
The fact that so many entities are interested in a network service that won’t even go live until next year built by a company that’s not even fully funded is a surprise—even to LightSquared. “If you had asked me last year if we expected to have customers at this point in our plans, I would have said no,” Boulben said. “Customers are becoming very excited about the service.”
During his keynote, Ahuja compared LightSquared to other disruptive companies who changed their industries, not through technology, but rather through innovating new distribution models. He singled out Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN). Dell transformed the PC market by upending the supply chain, building made-to-order PCs delivered to a customer’s door, Ahuja said. Netflix changed the movie rental market by combining it with mail order and then reinvented the model again by moving to digital streaming. Amazon did the same with books, first selling online and then moving toward digital distribution.
Ahuja said LightSquared will do the same to mobile broadband, creating a cheap and inefficient means of injecting high-speed data into their products and strategies, without bringing along the baggage of a traditional operator.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
In this Webinar you will learn how to create a real-time relationship with your customers, how to proactively improve the customer experience, and how to successfully target and cross-sell services to boost incremental revenue.
- Megabytes to Megabucks, Bandwidth to Business Models: How 4G Is Changing Everything
- How to Unplug Your Redundant Telco Apps To Save Money and Improve Efficiency
- When IaaS Isn't Enough: Service Provider Business Models to Drive Growth and Build Margin
- How to Transform Your Aging Telco Voice Network to Drive New Profits and Revenue
- Creative Licensing Approaches for Telcos & Their Network Equipment Vendors
- Smart Home Opportunity: Balancing Customer Data & Privacy
This paper discusses the rise of Diameter and benefits of Diameter Protocol.
- Conducting The Orchestration – Order Management at the Speed of Business
- Toward a Converged Network Edge
- Beyond Spam – Email Security in the Age of Blended Threats
- 6 Important Steps to Evaluating a Web Filtering Solution
- The Expertise to Protect You from Botnet and DDoS Attacks
- Seeing is Believing – Bridging the Order Visibility Gap
Service providers are under tremendous pressure to turn up new services faster then before and, at the same time,
to do it at less expense - and intra-office fiber is one of the biggest challenges in terms of both cost and service
From the Blog
Join the Discussion
Get more out of Connected Planet by visiting our related resources below:
Connected Planet highlights the next generation of service providers, as well as how their customers use services in new ways.Subscribe Now