LightSquared, the operator that refuses to die, has just let go 45% of their 330 employee strong work force according to Reuters. The decision comes after the FCC basically told them that there’s no way in hell they’re going to be allowed to build a wireless network, because today’s GPS system is far more important than being able to download porn at 10 megabits per second. Will LightSquared file for bankruptcy now that they’re essentially useless? Philip Falcone, who is in charge of the hedge fund that is financing LightSquared, says nope, bankruptcy is off the table. So what exactly are they going to do now? Apparently they have 300,000 customers using their satellite services, which is great and all, but that market likely isn’t going to grow. Here’s another funny number: In 2010 LightSquared spent $265,000 lobbying the U.S. Government. Know how much they spent in 2011 trying to get their network off the ground? Around $2.5 million. All that money was essentially flushed down the toilet.
So is America stuck with AT&T and Verizon? T-Mobile isn’t going to roll out 4G LTE, Sprint is fighting for its life. But wait, there’s a potential savoir! Dish Network, the budget satellite television company, owns 40 MHz worth of spectrum in the 2 GHz band. They’ve written a letter to the FCC asking for permission to use that spectrum to build an LTE-Advanced network. Should they get approval, then they can potentially disrupt the entire landscape as it currently stands. If Dish partners with T-Mobile then they could become a full fledged national operator with a healthy share of spectrum. If AT&T offers to buy Dish Network, then we’ll be right back where we started.
When will we find out what Dish will do? No idea, but since it’s an election year you bet that people will move to make things happen while they still have some semblance of power.