The Clearwire WiMAX network, by way of comparison, supports 16,000 sites. Construction of the LTE network is scheduled to begin by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
The first 5,000 sites have been picked because they represent the sites with the heaviest current data demand, the company says.
LightSquared had signed more than 30 customers to wholesale capacity agreements, and those potential customers now logically will be looking for other partners, if the LightSquared network does not launch, as would now seem to be the case.
Whether that emerges as a trend remains to be seen, but Clearwire now stands as the only national provider focused on wholesale services for retail mobile service providers, and seems closest to building a wholesale LTE network that could be operational in 2012.
Dish Network is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to build its own national LTE network, but availability obviously remains some years off in the future, and Dish has been talking about selling its own retail service, not wholesale.
The point is that there would appear to be as many as 30 would-be mobile service providers now looking for wholesale carriage agreements.