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LightSquared scores another round of funding

Alibaba looking to raise $24.3 billion investment before IPO launch

Would-be LTE wholesaler LightSquared may be struggling to get around its opponents in the GPS industry, but that hasn’t stopped investors from beating a path to its door. The company announced today that it has raised an additional $265m in additional funding, bringing the company’s total investment haul for the past year to more than $2.3bn.

According to LightSquared, the capital was drawn from both existing as well as new investors; beyond that, it’s not naming names. The company further added that it would use the cash injection “for general corporate purposes, which includes constructing its world class 4G-LTE wholesale network.”

Chairman and CEO of LightSquared, Sanjiv Ahuja, said that latest round of financing “signals another endorsement by the financial markets of our business model and LightSquared’s intent to use private capital to build out a new network to meet the growing demand across this entire nation for wireless broadband access.”

Demand may well be there, but LightSquared’s fate currently lies in the hands of US regulatory authorities, currently being lobbied hard by the country’s GPS industry, which claims the company’s technology interferes with the GPS and poses a public safety threat. The carrier made an announcement two weeks ago claiming that it had resolved interference issues by switching bands but GPS industry body Coalition to Save Our GPS dismissed those claims as “bizarre.” A US House of Representatives committee followed on with a bill blocking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from granting LightSquared a waiver the company needed to move forward with its launch.

LightSquared had until July 1st to deliver a report to the FCC detailing the results of a testing programme into the claimed interference. While the results have yet to be fully disclosed, early indications are that the proposed technology does interfere with a variety of public safety devices – something LightSquared continues to deny vigorously. The firm recently hit back against naysayers with the launch of its own public policy initiative, sponsoring a study that has found that the GPS industry in America receives and effective $18bn subsidy from the government because it uses GPS spectrum free of charge.

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