Satellite firm to pull plug on mobile broadband provider

Inmarsat owed $56 million by firm attempting to bring mobile broadband to the US

20 Feb 2012

British satellite firm Inmarsat is ready to pull the plug on LightSquared, a venture struggling to build a US mobile broadband service with Inmarsat's spectrum.

LightSquared has failed to pay a $56.25 million installment to the British satellite firm and faces an uncertain future. The Federal Communications Commission said last week that it planned to revoke permission for LightSquared to build out its network after tests showed it would interfere with the Global Positioning System used by airlines, the military and others.

After the FCC news, nalysts speculated that bankruptcy may be close at hand for LightSquared, especially after it had earlier warned that it would run out of money early this year.

Inmarsat said it had issued a default notice to LightSquared, giving it 60 days to make the payment before it terminated the co-operation agreement.

Inmarsat said it had started talks with the US company, which is backed by billionaire hedge-fund manager Philip Falcone, but it could not provide any assurance it would receive any more payments.

It said its core business, which provides communications to shipping, aircraft and remote locations worldwide, was unaffected.

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