* SK Eyes LightSquared wireless venture backed by Harbinger
* Investment would mark U.S. re-entry after Helio withdrawal
SEOUL, Sept 20 South Korea's top mobile carrier
SK Telecom Co Ltd (017670.KS) said on Monday that it was in talks
to invest in U.S. upstart wireless operator LightSquared, a
venture backed by hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners.
"We are in talks with Harbinger to decide investment terms,"
an SK Telecom spokeswoman said.
The possible investment would mark the operator's reentry
into the U.S. market in two years.
SK Telecom exited the U.S. market in 2008, selling its
struggling mobile unit Helio to Virgin Mobile USA as part of a
divestment of foreign assets. SK Telecom sold back its stake in
China Unicom (0762.HK) for $1.3 billion in 2009.
LightSquared plans to build an open wireless broadband
network using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, a
fourth-generation protocol that established operators Verizon
Wireless, AT&T Inc (T.N) and MetroPCS Communications Inc PCS.N
also plan to support.
The venture said in July that it planned to kick off network
construction with $1.75 billion of financing from financial
investors, and expected to raise a second round of financing in
the next two years.
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) [NSN.UL] will deliver equipment
to LightSquared this year so it can test network services in
Baltimore, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver in the first half of
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Chris Lewis)