Phil Falcone's Lightsquared May Have Some Kinks To Work Out

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Nothing huge but the network might "cause devastating interference" to GPS devices.

A new set of government tests showed that LightSquared's proposed mobile broadband network disrupted the signal strength to all GPS devices in the test area, dealing another setback to the company's startup plans. While all global-positioning system devices tested were affected, the severity of the loss of service varied, said Deane Bunce, co-chair of the National PNT Engineering Forum, a federal advisory group of engineers that oversaw the government tests. Mr. Bunce, speaking at a federal government advisory group hearing Thursday, said some devices lost signal strength while others were knocked out completely. For example, the government tests found that General Motors Co.'s OnStar system saw a "significant degradation of service" on most receivers tested.

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LightSquared's airwaves are located close to the airwaves used by GPS receivers, which can be overpowered by the wireless start-up's signals. "It will cause interference. It will cause devastating interference," said James Kirkland, vice president and general counsel of Trimble Navigation Ltd., a GPS maker. "There is not a solution here. In our view it's time to stop squandering resources on this and find alternative spectrum for them."...The government tests suggest that LightSquared's GPS issues are more wide-spread than previously known. Last week, construction giant Deere & Co. reported that during recent testing in New Mexico, LightSquared's network hobbled it's GPS systems more than 20 miles away. Local law enforcement also reported police cars and ambulances lost GPS signals.

[WSJ]

Related: Harbinger Capital Will Pay Redemptions…In Illiquid LightSquared Equity

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Phil Falcone Hasn't Given Up On LightSquared

...and he hopes investors haven't either, not that they have much choice in the matter. If recent performance has been difficult to swallow, comfort thyself with the fact that lots of things get worse before they get better. Falcone is giving this thing 150% and its genius will reveal itself in due time. Hedge fund manager Philip Falcone's clients got another dose of bad news when the billionaire investor said his flagship fund lost 29.6 percent in February largely because of ailing telecommunications company LightSquared Inc...Falcone often takes his time, relative to other hedge fund managers, in releasing monthly performance numbers...Falcone, who has bank rolled the company by having invested over $3 billion, held out hope for LightSquared's future when he told investors on an investor call in mid-February that he remained committed to the project. [Reuters]

Phil Falcone Is Turning His Life Around

To put it lightly, the last couple years have been a rather dark time for Phil Falcone. Though his woes are too numerous to mention in full, they include: the adversity he's faced in getting people to believe in LightSquared; his unbelievably pissy investors, who still aren't over the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated fund to pay personal taxes, or offered to pay out redemptions in illiquid LightSquared equity; the Securities and Exchange Commission, which wants him banned from the industry for life; the woman who once offered a respite from it all, who now won't even come out of her room when she knows he's home; and, of course, the plunging returns in his once highly profitable hedge fund. It would be enough to make a grown man say 'Fuck, it. I'm done.' Put a few things in a sack, tie it to the blade of a hockey stick, and hitchhike back to Minnesota. But Phil didn't do that and now? After a merciless storm of shit that felt like it would never ease up? After long days of investors and regulators breathing down his neck and nights of having to pound on the front door because he was accidentally purposely locked out of the house? The tide feels like it's turning for Philip Falcone. Beleaguered hedge fund honcho Phil Falcone’s big bet on his own publicly traded entity, Harbinger Group, is helping to lift his troubled hedge fund, Harbinger Capital Management, out of the deep end. Falcone’s flagship fund posted returns of 10.6 percent in July and a whopping 28 percent gain in June. Of course, he's still down 5.8 percent year-to-date, and the the director of the SEC's division of enforcement wants hedge fund graduate schools to use Harbinger as a case study during the unit on "how to operate a hedge fund unlawfully," but tonight? Tonight he tells Lisa to treat herself to something nice. Tonight he tells Wilbur to pull the baby grand out of the closet, where it's sat untouched for months. Tonight his key works in the lock. Tonight we dance. Phil Helps Himself [NYP]