Mobile

Troubled wireless startup Lightsquared’s CEO quits

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Not only is wholesale wireless network startup LightSquared dealing with a lack of support from U.S. regulators and financial difficulties, but now it’s also suffering from a lack of leadership.

Today the company announced Sanjiv Ahuja (pictured) has resigned his position at the company as chief executive officer. Ahuja, who has been with the company since 2010, will temporarily be replaced with chief network officer Doug Smith and CFO Marc Montagner, both of whom will act as co-CEO for the time being. Ahuja will continue to serve as chairman of the board, according to the company.

The search for a new CEO is expected to begin immediately, the company said.

LightSquared’s business strategy involves building out a high-speed 4G long-term evolution (LTE) wireless network and leasing it to outside companies. Those companies would then power their devices or run their wireless service on LightSquared’s network.

Earlier this month, however, the Federal Communications Commission rejected LightSquared’s plans to launch its LTE network due to concerns that it would interfere with both commercial and military GPS technology. The have been some rumors that the startup will propose swapping its licensed portion of the wireless spectrum with the U.S. Department of Defense. And considering how hard LightSquared has fought to launch its LTE network in its current form, such a move would be more of a headache.

Not only that, but LightSquare is also suffering from some financial troubles which threatened operations due to a lack of capital and financing. The company, which is funded by Philip Falcone’s $5 billion Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, took a $427 million net loss for the first nine months of 2011. The company also is in danger of having its $9 billion 15-year agreement with Sprint-Nextel to build and host its LTE network fall through.

In a statement from the company, Falcone noted that the company is “taking an aggressive approach to its finances to ensure that it has adequate financial runway while it works through these issues.”

Screenshot: Washington Times/YouTube