Best Buy, LightSquared In Deal

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Orlando, Fla. - Best Buy has entered into an agreement with LightSquared to resell LightSquared's planned 4G LTE voice and data service under its own Best Buy Connect brand, LightSquared chairman/CEO Sanjiv Ahuja said during a keynote speech this morning at the CTIA convention.

Best Buy is targeting first-quarter 2012 trials, he said.

LightSquared plans to build a terrestrial wholesale-only LTE voice and data network that will reach at least 100 million Americans by the end of 2012, 145 million by the end of 2013, and 260 million by the end of 2015, he told convention-goers. "We're positioned to exceed these milestones," he said.

The company will also wholesale satellite-based LTE service, which in some cases will be integrated into phones and devices that also offer terrestrial LTE service.

The announcement is the second LightSquared deal announced in as many days. Yesterday,

Leap Wireless signed a roaming agreement

with LightSquared to supplement Leap's planned 4G LTE network.

For Best Buy, the deal would bring voice service to the chain's portfolio of Best Buy Connect-branded wireless services.

Last year, Best Buy began reselling Sprint's 3G wireless broadband-data service under the Best Buy Connect brand. And last July, 4G Mobile WiMAX carrier Clearwire announced that it would sell its 4G Mobile WiMAX data service on a wholesale basis to Best Buy and that the chain planned in 2011 to resell the service under the Best Buy Connect brand. Early this month, Clearwire said it expects Best Buy to launch the WiMAX wireless-broadband service early this year.

Under the current Best Buy Connect program, the chain acts as an MVNO, billing consumers, providing customer support, and selling mobile computing devices embedded with wireless modems at subsidized prices with wireless activation.


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