The chief executive for LightSquared Inc., a partner that holds the increasingly distant hope for billions in revenue for Sprint Nextel Corp., has resigned.
In a press release issued Tuesday, LightSquared announced that CEO Sanjiv Ahuja had resigned. The company said it expects to name a successor soon.
Ahuja had been at the helm at LightSquared since 2010. While the company searches for a replacement, his duties will be split by co-chief operating officers Doug Smith and Marc Montagner. The press release announcing his resignation said that Ahuja would stay as chairman of the company’s board of directors, where he’ll be joined by Philip Falcone. Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund has been a chief backer of the budding wireless company, pouring $3 billion into the wireless venture.
LightSquared has recently run into regulatory roadblocks in its effort to cobble together a network using a satellite teamed with conventional earthbound cellular towers. The Federal Communications Commission decided earlier this month not to let LightSquared light up its network.
The company’s assigned radio spectrum rests in a radio frequency close to that used for satellite navigation services. Testing, highly contested by LightSquared, has suggested its transmitters would jam GPS devices used by industry and for public safety.
LightSquared has an agreement with Sprint to share construction costs on building a wireless broadband network. But that’s been contingent on cash payments from LightSquared to Sprint. The regulatory problems have choked off investment in LightSquared, and Sprint has moved on without the partner.
Falcone’s hedge fund has poured $3 billion into LightSquared.
Olathe-headquartered Garmin Ltd. has been among those in the GPS industry opposing licensing for LightSquared’s proposed network.