Another national LTE network coming?

Posted by GenD on Sunday, March 28, 2010 with No comments
There’s quite a lot of fourth-generation mobile network construction happening, and about to happen, in the U.S. market, but the wild card now is that an entirely-new Long Term Evolution network might be built using spectrum originally allocated for satellite networks.

Harbinger Capital, which recently merged with SkyTerra, proposes to build a fully integrated satellite-terrestrial network to serve North American mobile users, featuring national LTE facilities that would operate on a wholesale-only basis.
The Federal Communications Commission apparently has required that, as part of the Harbinger purchase of SkyTerra, the firm operate as a wholsaler, and also that AT&T and Verizon traffic cannot account for more than 25 percent of total traffic carried on the Harbinger network.
The planned network would launch before the third quarter of 2011 and cover nine million people, with trials set initially for Denver and Phoenix. The next milestone is that 100 million people have to be covered by the end of 2012, 145 million by the end of 2013 and at least 260 million people in the United States by the end of 2015. Harbinger told the FCC that all major markets will be installed by the end of the second quarter of 2013.
Before any of that could happen, though, Harbinger would have to find additional investors willing to provide $5 billion worth of investment capital.
Analyst Chris King at Stifel Nicolaus estimates that Verizon’s LTE network will cost about $5 billion to deploy. Clearwire has also spent billions on its network, with analyst estimates ranging from $3 billion to about $6 billion. There is no particular reason to think the ubiquitous terrestrial network Harbinger expects to build would cost less.