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Dish leaps over LTE for Advanced Quad play

Dish is taking a gamble that LTE Advanced will be her in plenty of time for its Quad play plans - but who will partner it?


Published: 25 August, 2011

READ MORE: Spectrum | North America | Broadband | Satellite | LTE

Dish Networks is trying to brazenly talk about building a triple and quadruple play by the addition of an LTE Advanced network sometime around 2014. It made known more about its wireless plans in a spectrum authorization filing at the FCC, and argued that if the FCC is dumb enough to let the AT&T T-Mobile merger to go ahead, then it must automatically give Dish the waivers it needs to go head to head with it, to prevent the US becoming a wireless duopoly.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has recently acquired 40 MHz of 2 GHz Mobile Satellite Spectrum within his new subsidiary Gamma, in bankruptcy proceedings at DBSD and TerreStarand, and has asked for the FCC to allow him to use it as two separate networks - one a terrestrial wireless network and one a satellite network - it seems that these will not interfere with one another due to the orientation of the signal.

He also says that the FCC can save him $500 million by dropping it stipulation that there is a spare satellite for each network, ready to go within one year, if either satellite develops problems.

The plan sounds exceptionally good and the FCC may well listen, in a time when everyone is calling for more broadband spectrum, to Dish's requests.

Clearwire has been cursed by choosing the wrong WiMAX technology for its network, and LightSquared has been equally cursed by buying into spectrum that can interfere with the GPS signal. With Sprint, the third largest cellular operator in the US aligned to both of them but also to the US cable TV companies, who are hostile to Dish, that leaves it something of a mystery as to where Dish will get a partner to help pay the $billions needed for an LTE Advanced network.

It could install home femtocells in all of its set tops, and make it irresistible to convert to a Dish quad play. It might throw in its hand with satellite TV rival DirecTV which is bankrolled by Liberty Media and the exceptionally rich and successful John Malone.

All we know for sure is that Charie Ergen and his new CEO Joseph Clayton have what they believe is a winning hand, but working out who they are going to share it with is becoming one of Wall Street's favorite games. If Dish succeeds in turning a satellite TV player into a full Quad play in one move, it could become a blueprint for similar action all over the world.

For a full assessment of Dish maneuvering, go to Faultline at

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