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Former Nextel exec rumored as new LightSquared CEO

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 3:54pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

LightSquared may hire the former head of Nextel as its new CEO while it tries to turn around its LTE plans, which were left dead in the water by the FCC's decision to stop it from moving forward.

The embattled mobile broadband company, backed by billionaire hedge fund manager Philip Falcone, is said to be considering hiring ex-Nextel CEO Timothy Donahue to replace recently ousted Sanjiv Ahuja, according to unnamed sources cited by Reuters.

Ahuja resigned earlier this week after failing to get government clearance for its network. LightSquared said it is looking for a new chief executive but has not named any candidates.

Donahue retired in 2006 after Sprint's merger with Nextel. If the telecommunications veteran took the post with LightSquared, he would be tasked with finding a way for the company to launch its network despite seemingly insurmountable problems with GPS interference.

LightSquared is reportedly interested in hiring Donahue because of his work with the FCC on a major rebranding project to address interference between Nextel's signal and public safety services in neighboring bands.

LightSquared was unable to solve interference problems between its network and GPS receivers in nearby spectrum, prompting the FCC to announce two weeks ago it would pull LightSquared's waiver for the service and suspend its ability to run land-based services on its satellite spectrum. The decision left LightSquared with few ways to proceed, but the company has vowed to push ahead with its network.

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