US wholesale 4G startup LightSquared has won key backing from Qualcomm for its satellite-LTE hybrid technology.
LightSquared’s board has also confirmed its $7 billion agreement with Nokia Siemens, one of the largest ever managed services deals, the company announced Thursday.
LightSquared says Qualcomm will design chips combining L-Band satellite and LTE cellular and bring them into its mainstream chipset roadmap. Qualcomm would also add its own satellite air interface, called EGAL, into the MDM9600 chipset, the world’s first multimode LTE chip.
Peggy Johnson, a Qualcomm executive vice president, said device manufacturers would be able to use the chipsets to make cellular-satellite phones at prices comparable to today’s cellphones.
LightSquared also said it had tapped Nokia to provide branded phones to run on its network, and AnyDATA and BandRich to provide USB data modems.
The company, which is backed by private equity firm Harbinger and UK satellite operator Inmarsat, said its own board and the board of Nokia Siemens Networks had approved the eight-year managed services agreement with the vendor.
The LightSquared network will comprise 40,000 base stations and aims to cover 92% of the US population by the end of 2015.