Phil Falcone & Harbinger's 4G Wireless Network Bet: LightSquared ~ market folly

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Phil Falcone & Harbinger's 4G Wireless Network Bet: LightSquared

Philip Falcone's hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners has invested $2.9 billion into private 4G wireless network: LightSquared. We've detailed Harbinger's 4G bet before, but Falcone yesterday was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo from the Delivering Alpha Conference.

His whole goal with this venture is to bring powerful wireless broadband to rural areas in an attempt to essentially blanket America with coverage. He says that the future is all about smartphones and tablets, and those devices need access to wireless networks.

Too Big of a Bet?

Critics have said that Harbinger has essentially morphed into a private equity fund or venture firm by allocating so much capital to one private investment. Falcone addresses this by saying that there's "a real asset here" as he first started looking at it five or six years ago.

He thinks the venture will change the wireless market. While he acknowledges that this single bet is quite large for one fund, he believes people would understand how valuable this is from both a capital and social perspective if they were around the everyday workings like he is.

GPS Interference?

Regarding the claims that LightSquared interferes with GPS, Falcone says that GPS is actually using their spectrum as they were given the right to build on that spectrum and the GPS manufacturers knew it. Falcone says that, "they're interfering with us, we're not interfering with them."

Embedded below is the video of Falcone's interview from the Delivering Alpha conference:

Falcone also presented his idea of going long Spectrum Brands (SPB) at the conference on the hedge fund best ideas panel which we also covered.

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