AP, LTW

U.S. consumers and businesses are going to get more options in wireless service starting next year, with the launch of a new wireless broadband network that will provide competition to the incumbent phone companies.

Private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners on Tuesday revealed details of the launch of its wireless network, , which aims to cover 92 percent of the population by 2015.

LightSquared has signed with Nokia Siemens Networks an eight-year $7 billion contract to deploy, operate, and maintain the network.

"The launch of LightSquared marks a significant milestone in the industry and for Harbinger," said Philip Falcone, founder and chief executive officer of Harbinger.

"With a strong management team and a world-class partner to build and manage the network, the business is well positioned to capitalize on key trends; demand for wireless broadband is growing at a rapid pace and there is an increasing need for additional network capacity and reach. Importantly, LightSquared will also make a significant contribution to U.S. job growth and the economy."

According to its website, LightSquared "will deploy an open wireless broadband network using a technology called Long Term Evolution (LTE), the most widely adopted 4G standard in the world. Its LTE network will be combined with one of the largest co mmercial satellites ever launched, to provide coverage of the entire United States. This integrated LTE-satellite network is a world first."

It’s a rare new entrant in the wireless market. LightSquared plans to start providing service in the second half of 2011 in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver and Baltimore.

Backed by $2.9 billion of assets already from Harbinger Capital Partners and affiliates, LightSquared isaid Tuesday it also had raised additional debt and equity financing worth up to $1.75 billion.

For the full announcement,

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