Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
22 Sep 2010
It has said it will start rolling out 4G in Korea next year and achieve national coverage in 2013, so it might, in fact, be SKT that brought the balance of expertise to a LightSquared partnership. Not to mention its knowledge of mobile web behavior from one of the world's most advanced wireless and internet markets.
SKT’s previous attempts to break into the US have not been very successful. It formed a joint venture with ISP EarthLink in 2005, which was later renamed Helio and set up an MVNO. Despite an ambitious agenda to bring advanced mobile content services to the US, it did not thrive and was sold to Virgin Mobile, now part of Sprint Nextel.
SKT has looked around for acquisitions outside its saturating home base, and was rumored to be a suitor for Sprint at one time, as well as taking a $100 million stake in Malaysian Wimax player Packet One.
Meanwhile, LightSquared has obtained further financing in the form of a $750 million, four-year loan from UBS, according to insiders. Analysts at Oppenheimer have estimated that LightSquared needs $5 billion to build its network.
In July, the venture obtained $1.75 billion in initial funding commitments. Much of its spectrum comes from Harbinger's $500 million acquisition of SkyTerra.
This article originally appeared on Rethink Wireless