FCC Puts The Brakes On Harbinger's LightSquared

Sep 14 2011 | 12:52pm ET

The Federal Communications Commission has a message for Harbinger Capital Management's wireless venture: Not so fast.

The agency yesterday ordered more testing of LightSquared's network, which previous tests have shown interferes with global positioning systems. LightSquared, into which Harbinger has poured a substantial chunk of its assets, has since made a series of changes designed to limit its system's impact.

The FCC decision means that LightSquared may not get final approval to move forward with its plans until the end of this year or early next year. Just this week, the company said it expected that approval to come within a month.

"Additional targeted testing is needed to ensure that any potential commercial terrestrial services offered by LightSquared will not cause harmful interference to GPS operations," the FCC said in a notice. The agency cited concerns that LightSquared would continue to interfere with precision GPS devices, including those used for air-traffic control and hurricane tracking.

For its part, LightSquared said it was "grateful that the FCC acknowledged today the significant improvement achieved by LightSquared's decision to move to new spectrum for the launch of its 4G LTE broadband network."

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