LightSquared, a company building a new wireless broadband network to compete with those of AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless and Clearwire Corp., announced Tuesday its first phone-company customer, Leap Wireless International Inc.

Privately held Light Squared is based in Reston, Va.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Leap Wireless, the parent of the Cricket phone service, plans to use LightSquared’s fourth-generation, or 4G, network to supplement its own.

“Our business progress demonstrates how data services are increasingly important to our customers, as evidenced by our customers’ significant uptake of smartphones and data-focused, higher-ARPU service plans,” said Doug Hutcheson, Leap’s chief executive officer. “We intend to deploy our own LTE networks beginning this year to complement the existing nationwide 3G services we currently offer to customers. This new roaming arrangement will allow us to offer customers an even-greater 4G service area as LightSquared expands its own network. We believe that the broad coverage resulting from this business agreement will enhance our ability to offer compelling products and services and allow us to strengthen our retail relationships and distribution capabilities. It will also give us flexibility to access additional 4G capacity where needed as data-centric devices become more popular and require more and more bandwidth.”

LightSquared is funded by private-equity firm Harbinger Capital Partners, and it plans to sell wholesale network access to phone companies and any other companies that might want to resell broadband Internet access. It has already announced one other customer: Open Range, a startup Internet service provider focusing on rural areas.

“Cricket customers’ appetite for wireless data is growing exponentially and in ways no one could have envisioned even a few years ago,” said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and CEO of LightSquared. “By providing a wholesale-only nationwide 4G LTE network complemented by satellite coverage, LightSquared will help Leap meet its customers’ demand for universal, affordable broadband connectivity. We are fully committed to delivering our roaming services on time and with the quality, speed, coverage and capacity required to support Leap’s business needs.”

San Diego-based Leap is the country’s seventh-largest phone company, with 5.5 million customers. Analysts have speculated that T-Mobile USA, the fourth-largest phone company, would be interested in dealing with LightSquared, but that possibility has been taken off the table with Sunday’s announcement that AT&T Inc. has agreed to buy T-Mobile. The deal would give T-Mobile access to the 4G network AT&T is activating starting this year.

LightSquared has previously said it hopes to get its network operating in some areas this year and cover 92 percent of the U.S. population by 2015.

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