3GPP Approves DISH Wireless Spectrum Standards

DISH calls on FCC to resist Sprint's effort to delay wireless competition, billions in investment, tens of thousands of U.S. jobs

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Nov. 14, 2012 – The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) working group yesterday approved the technical specifications that govern 40 MHz of broadband-ready wireless spectrum controlled by DISH (called Band 23), despite the objections of Sprint Nextel Corporation over the last 12 months. DISH urges the FCC to do the same.

Without 3GPP approval, wireless companies do not have the required technical blueprints needed to design and build everything from cellphone chipsets to broadband networks.

With 3GPP's standards now approved, DISH is poised to enter the wireless business as rapidly as possible, assuming favorable FCC approval of rules that will allow DISH to use the spectrum (which is already approved for satellite and terrestrial service) more efficiently for terrestrial wireless services for smartphones, tablets and computers.

"We applaud 3GPP for rightly concluding the Band 23 question," said Jeff Blum, DISH Senior Vice-President and Deputy General Counsel. "Now we call on the FCC to reject Sprint's proposals for AWS-4 rules that would re-open Band 23 and jeopardize DISH's ability bring its spectrum to market, and provide much needed wireless competition."

Over the past several months, Sprint, which is in the process of being acquired by Japanese-controlled wireless carrier Softbank, has petitioned the FCC to drastically reduce the power levels of DISH's spectrum to further Sprint's desire to acquire the neighboring H Block spectrum, which today is essentially a vacant lot with no current licensees or users.

Sprint's request would re-open DISH's 3GPP specifications, causing further delay to a process that DISH started more than 20 months ago – and further delaying billions of dollars of investment and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

"Sprint's position on the H Block would render useless 25 percent of DISH's uplink spectrum -- so that Sprint is positioned to merely gain the exact same amount of spectrum," said Blum. "This is a zero-sum approach that does not result in a net spectrum gain for the American consumer and creates no new jobs.

"Worse yet, it takes 5 MHz of spectrum out of the hands of a new market entrant and puts it in the hands of an incumbent that already has more than 200 MHz of wireless spectrum," said Blum. "This makes no sense at a time when the nation is enduring a spectrum crunch and would benefit from more wireless competition.

"Our nation is in a spectrum crisis; we are running out of the very resource our wireless economy needs to sustain its incredible growth," said Blum. "Sprint's plan does not deliver new spectrum nor create U.S. jobs; it take usable spectrum from a new entrant – DISH -- and conveniently positions an entrenched incumbent, Sprint, as the beneficiary.

"Sprint, through its actions at the FCC, is delaying wireless competition, billions of dollars of investment and tens of thousands of jobs that our economy needs.

Said Blum: "DISH's position is consistent with more than 20 years of FCC precedent. The AWS-4 rulemaking should be completed with the power levels that were recommended by the FCC in the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) and supported by all commenters (other than Sprint), and which would not require DISH to effectively surrender 25 percent of its uplink capacity. The H Block should be subject to the same auction and rule making processes that have applied to other spectrum bands for decades. This approach will ultimately free up the H Block for its highest-and-best use based upon input from all interested parties, and will lead to more investment, more jobs, more competition and more spectrum for wireless consumers."