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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Hedge Fund Manager Phil Falcone Talks Satellite Broadband with Forbes Magazine


Phil Falcone has$9 billion and ambitious plans to build a next generation mobile broadband network using satellites and a network of unbuilt terrestrial towers — but can he pull it off?

Writer Lisa Falcone and businessman Philip Falcone attend NY TIMES Party at the C5 Resturant at The Royal Ontario Museum.
Vito Amati | WireImage | Getty Images

To hear Falcone tell it, he owns “the most valuable and limited resources in the United States” —wireless broadband spectrum — coupled with management expertise and lots of ready cash. While his broadband company, LightSquared, has already raised $3 Billion, his critics still aren’t convinced.

Falcone’s advantages include high-penetration 1.6 GHz spectrum, and a seasoned CEO, Sanjiv Ahuja, who has a track record of success in growing subscribers. But his critics, including Credit Suisse telecom analyst Jonathan Chaplin, charge that he lacks not only expertise in network building, but also cash.

"The capital needed to deploy LightSquared's model is very substantial," Chaplin says. "It's not clear that the capital to put the model into practice is available."

As with many macro-engineering projects, we may ultimately have to wait and see.

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