LightSquared marked a major step forward in its plans for a hybrid satellite-terrestrial LTE network with the successful launch of its first satellite yesterday.
The SkyTerra 1 satellite was launched by International Launch Services from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday, followed by spacecraft separation and on-schedule signal acquisition.
The Boeing 702HP satellite is designed to provide wireless services to "millions" of subscribers, LightSquared said. According to the company, the satellite is one of the most powerful commercial satellites ever built, with a 22-meter L-Band reflector-based antenna, which LightSquared says is the largest commercial antenna reflector ever to be put into service.
The company said the satellite will provide ubiquitous nationwide coverage and satellite-terrestrial service on products that are similar to today's typical mobile devices in terms of size, capabilities and build costs.
"Today, LightSquared has achieved a major milestone in the realization of our mission to revolutionize the wireless industry in the United States," said company CEO Sanjiv Ahuja. "LightSquared is launching the world's first truly integrated satellite-terrestrial network, combining our 4G-LTE terrestrial network with ubiquitous satellite coverage that will connect rural America and support emergency communications."
The launch of the satellite could help reassure investors in the hedge fund backing LightSquared that the network is a viable proposition. Last week, several of Harbinger Capital Partners' most high-profile investors submitted withdrawal notices to the fund, according to reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.
The withdrawal notices from Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs don't necessarily mean the companies plan to pull their investments, but it gives the companies the flexibility to exit the fund by the end of the year.
LightSquared has yet to secure all of the necessary funding to finance its ambitious LTE network.