Best Buy Makes 4G Deal with Start-Up LightSquared

Under the agreement, Best Buy will offer 4G services to its customers via LightSquared's wireless network, beginning with a trial during the company's first quarter.

Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., has struck a deal with wireless start-up LightSquared, through which the electronics retailer will offer wireless services to its customers via LightSquared's network.

According to an Associated Press report, Best Buy will resell access to LightSquared's network and market the service under its Best Buy Connect brand.

Best Buy declined to comment on the deal beyond the following e-mailed statement: “We can confirm comments about an agreement with Best Buy made at [a wireless trade show] today by LightSquared Chairman and CEO Sanjiv Ahuja. The LightSquared partnership specifically involves our branded mobile broadband service, Best Buy Connect, and will enable us to offer 4G services to customers through the LightSquared network. We're targeting a trial in [the first quarter of] 2012 and will have more details available in a few weeks.”

Reston, Virginia-based LightSquared in September announced plans to expand its network into Minneapolis during the second half of 2011.

LightSquared spokesman Tom Surface told Twin Cities Business at that time that Minneapolis is an “appealing market,” partly because of its concentrated population. He also said that the company won't offer its broadband services directly to consumers; rather, it will target a wide range of customers-including retailers, wireless service providers, cable operators, and device manufacturers-that would resell the services.

LightSquared bills itself as the nation's first wholesale-only integrated 4G wireless broadband and satellite network. It is building an open wireless broadband network using Long Term Evolution technology, which will be combined with a commercial satellite. The company claims that the integrated network will “provide coverage of the entire United States.”

Best Buy is Minnesota's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $49.7 billion for the fiscal year that ended in February 2010.The company reported $50.3 billion in revenue for its most recently completed fiscal year.