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Sprint Ends Network Deal With Lightsquared

The continued viability of Lightsquared has been cast into serious doubt as a network sharing agreement with Sprint has been cancelled, due to Sprint's concerns that the FCC's plan to destroy Lightsquared's proposed LTE network will proceed as planned. Lightsquared's network would have depended on access to airwaves originally reserved for satellite signals; unfortunately, on February 15th, the FCC kiboshed it due to concerns that it would interfere with the Global Positioning System. Sprint had given the company, founded by billionaire (and ultimate Bond Villain named) Phillip Falcone, until March 15th to resolve the matter; when that date came and went without a change in the FCC's position, the deal was cancelled. Sprint will be returning the $65 million dollars they've received from Lightsquared.

In a formal statement to the FCC, Lightsquared's Executive Vice President for Regulatory Affairs, Jeff Carlisle, said that "The FCC has to exhaust reasonable alternatives before it reaches for the most extreme remedy here". The company has vowed to press on, threatening the FCC with a lawsuit on the basis that the FCC's decision violates the company's constitutional rights. Unfortunately for Lightsquared, under the Obama administration the FCC has shown surprisingly sharp teeth, having previously defied AT&T's planned takeover of T-Mobile. It's unlikely they'll budge, which decreases the odds that another cell service provider will wish to partner with them, making it likely that Lightsquared is doomed.