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Dish gets FCC nod, opens doors for partners


Published: 14 December, 2012


For the full version of this story, request this week's copy of our paid weekly service, Faultline, at or email

The move to open up Dish Network's spectrum for LTE and LTE Advanced build out has been officially sanctioned by the US regulator, the FCC. The 40 MHz of AWS spectrum acquired by Dish in bankruptcy auctions was initially earmarked for mobile satellite services. Previous waivers on satellite spectrum used by LightSquared set a precedent for allowing the spectrum to be used in either terrestrial or satellite networks, and so this move was widely expected.

Companies wanting to invest in wireless broadband will now beat a path to Dish's door and talks that it has had with Google are widely reported. However what Dish has to come up with first and foremost is a partner to pay for and manage the build out, preferably one that already has a swathe of cellular clients, which can be "upgraded" onto the service as it is built out.

There have been press reports that somehow Sprint would be the carrier that would work with Dish, using its existing infrastructure to light up the new spectrum, yet other reports put it in bed with Google, and a combination of Dish, Google and an existing operator such as Sprint, (but which could even be the revitalized T-Mobile - see separate story today) which would make a sensible combination, with Google perhaps mandating the network for off the shelf cloud services in order to fire it up.

Either way, once the FCC order is fully revealed, it is likely that the build out for Dish's spectrum will mean that 70% of the new network will have to be complete within six years, so Dish will not want to stand around for long.

A combination of Dish with its strong televisual satellite offerings, with some form of Google cloud offering, which might inure it from Network Neutrality concerns threatened by almost all US ISPs, would change the US landscape towards Wireless Broadband, and set a precedent for other countries to follow.


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