Philip Falcone’s LightSquared Inc., the U.S. company struggling to gain approval for a wireless service, failed to pay British satellite operator Inmarsat Plc $56.3 million under a spectrum-cooperation accord.
Inmarsat issued a notice of default under the companies’ cooperation agreement, giving LightSquared 60 days to remedy the payment, the London-based satellite operator said in a statement today. In a separate statement, LightSquared said that Inmarsat must fulfil certain obligations tied to the deployment of its terrestrial and satellite network and that “several matters” need to be resolved. It didn’t give more details.
LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, had been making a series of scheduled payments to the British company in line with contractual milestones, Inmarsat said. LightSquared had a now-seemingly doomed deal with Sprint Nextel Corp. that could have meant billions in cost sharing for the two firms.
Inmarsat, the biggest provider of satellite services to the maritime industry, is giving LightSquared access to part of its spectrum. LightSquared, backed by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, wants to offer high-speed Internet service to as many as 260 million people using airwaves previously reserved mainly for satellites.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said last week that it would block LightSquared after finding that the wireless venture would disrupt navigation gear.
The FCC is preparing to withdraw the preliminary approval it granted last year for the company to build a high-speed network serving as many as 260 million people, Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman, said last week. The FCC’s action is a blow to LightSquared and a setback for Harbinger Capital Partners, which has invested $3 billion in the venture.