Time to call in the wireless waahmbulance. LightSquared's
billionaire backer Phil Falcone made his television debut on CNBC's Power Lunch
to cry foul at the behind-the-scenes lobbying drama that could put the brakes on his 4G dreams. The hedge fund manager pointed his finger at AT&T and Verizon, claiming both are trying to "stomp out innovation" and competition by working in cahoots with the Save Our GPS Coalition. The soon-to-launch LTE network
continues to encounter significant opposition from the group, as its tests have shown LightSquared's planned 40,000 stations will transmit signals "up to 800 billion times
" more powerful than low-powered GPS, effectively blocking it out. Falcone insists that all parties involved knew of the potential interference issues
back in 2003, when the FCC first mandated the network's build-out, and promises a switch to the company's lower block of spectrum will remedy 99 percent of the problem. Whichever side of this he said / they said brouhaha you believe, one thing's for sure -- the 4G race is getting pretty ugly
*Verizon is currently in the process of acquiring AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.