Feds To Approve Harbinger Wireless Plan

Jan 26 2011 | 2:45am ET

The Federal Communications Commission is poised to award a crucial waiver to the Harbinger Capital Management's planned nationwide wireless network, giving the embattled hedge fund a much-needed victory.

The FCC is likely to grant the waiver to LightSquared, allowing it to lease its satellite airwaves to cellular phone companies, today, The Wall Street Journal reports. The regulator is set to do so despite the opposition of four U.S. Cabinet departments, which earlier this month urged stricter scrutiny for LightSquared and fears that its service might interfere with global positioning satellites.

But an FCC official told the Journal it would have LightSquared and "the GPS community… work together to resolve the interference issue on an expedited basis." While granting the waiver, the official said, LightSquared would have to address the interference issue before it was permitted to begin selling it service to cell phone companies.

Harbinger has invested some 40% of its assets into the ambitious plan, which is set to begin trials in four cities this year. The investment has caused a good deal of concern for investors and may have contibuted to redemptions at the firm, which manages just $7 billion today, down from $20 billion in 2008.

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