updated 02:00 pm EDT, Wed June 1, 2011
LightSquare finalizing 4G deal with Sprint
Up and coming 4G provider LightSquared is on the verge of completing its network sharing deal with Sprint, according to tips Wednesday. The nearly done deal would see LightSquared pay $2 billion every year for the next eight years to rent out Sprint's equipment for its own service. It wasn't evident from the Reuters tip when it would likely go live, though Sprint had pointed to further news about its network near the start of the second half of the year.
The deal is expected to be vital for Sprint, whose Network Vision overhaul is due to cost $5 billion. Its plan would merge 3G and 4G links into individual cell sites and would not only improve coverage but let Sprint easily tack on services, including those from other companies.
Multiple clues have surfaced that Sprint may switch to LTE for its 4G and could have a large edge in working with LightSquared, which plans to go to LTE from the start. The two could likely roam on each other's networks at little to no cost and help Sprint get started much faster than it had with the much smaller and struggling Clearwire.
LightSquared itself is expected to farm out its 4G service to other companies and could create an ideal ecosystem for Sprint where many smaller carriers paid it to create their own services.