Phil Falcone has finally caught a break.
The FCC will greenlight his satellite broadband start-up, LightSquared’s request for the company to lease airwaves that were previously reserved for satellite communications, without having to offer satellite services itself, we’re told by an FCC source.
defence officials have been worried that Falcone‘s service would mess with GPS systems and they’ll continute to look into whether that’s the case.
But in the meantime, Harbinger’s project can proceed with its journey toward a national wireless broadband network because this FCC waiver means LightSquared can provide wireless broadband access without having to sell satellite service too.
If interference issues are completely put to bed, that means LightSquared’s partners – which include Verizon and AT&T – will be able to sell cheap wireless mobile phones without fancy satellite add-ons that make other phones and plans so pricey.
This is a huge coup for Falcone, who has basically invested everything in this new project, and who just seems to be going from bad to worse every quarter. Apart from the fact he’s dealing with redemptions and legal issues, his hedge fund returns continue to slide.
Harbinger has been paring down investments in commodities and retail as it funnels 40% its assets into this much longer-term bet.
“For now, LightSquared does not plan to offer service directly to consumers. Instead, it would lease space on its network to a range of companies, such as Apple and Wal-Mart, that might want to offer wireless devices under their own brands,” the Washington Post said.