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Sprint 'exercises its right' to end LightSquared agreement for LTE, $65m returned

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Sprint has formally announced today that it'll be ending its agreement with LightSquared for LTE.

Sprint Flatiron Logo
Sprint Flatiron Logo

As The Wall Street Journal had reported last night, Sprint has announced today that it'll be formally terminating its agreement to partner with LightSquared on an LTE deployment in the controversial 1600MHz band. Of course, LightSquared had never intended for its 1600MHz holdings to be controversial — the controversy was brought to it when nagging concerns over interference with GPS couldn't be solved to the FCC's satisfaction, effectively ending the company's aspiration for deploying a nationwide commercial network. Pursuant to the termination, Sprint is returning $65 million in cash to LightSquared and leaves a faint glimmer of hope: "We remain open to considering future spectrum hosting agreements with LightSquared, should they resolve these interference issues, as well as other interested spectrum holders."

Sprint customers will be happy to know that the company claims its so-called Network Vision plan for LTE deployment remains "on schedule and on budget" despite the failed LightSquared deal. Indeed, LightSquared represented just a fraction of Sprint's available options for moving to LTE over the next couple years — it had previously said that refarming existing CDMA and iDEN spectrum was priority one, while Clearwire expects to be making TD-LTE available on the 2500MHz band in 2013.