The FCC today announced it will be able to offer a whopping 126 MHz, or 10 paired blocks, of licensed spectrum on a near-nationwide basis in the forward portion of its 600 MHz incentive auction. That's a huge victory for FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and it potentially creates an opening for a new wireless carrier to launch in the United States.
Dish Network executives were predictably opaque during Wednesday's earnings call regarding the company's plans to leverage its spectrum assets. So analysts continue to speculate about what the spectrum is worth, who might eventually use it and how.
Deutsche Telekom is shelving efforts to sell T-Mobile US to focus on the upcoming incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV airwaves, Reuters reported. The move could give potential buyers time to wait for a more favorable political climate for telecom consolidation.
Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said that the company's spectrum holdings could be used to build out a 5G offering, but he cautioned that Dish is unlikely to build out its spectrum holdings to create a fifth nationwide wireless network in the United States.
Shares of Dish Network dropped this morning after the company posted a disappointing quarter including a $516 million expense related to the FCC's October denial of $3.33 billion in credits to two of its affiliates in the recent auction of AWS-3 spectrum.
Dish Network told the FCC that efforts by AT&T and T-Mobile to make it and its partners pay more to participate in the upcoming 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum auction are misguided.
Dish Network said the 3GPP has approved the designation of Band 66, a move that essentially creates an official location and vendor support structure for much of the company's spectrum holdings. Just how Dish will use its highly valued spectrum is still unclear, however.
Dish Network CEO Charlie Ergen said that wireless carriers would "strategically commit malpractice" if they did not take a look at Dish's vast spectrum trove and try to do something with it. However, Ergen also indicated that Dish likely will not strike any kind of deal related to its airwaves before the start of next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, in which Dish might take part.
Verizon Wireless does not feel a need to strike a deal with Dish Network, to get access to its mid-band wireless spectrum, according to a senior Verizon executive. The comments from Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo at an investor conference could cool speculation that a deal for Verizon to lease Dish's airwaves is imminent.
Next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum might attract bids from companies that are not wireless carriers, including Comcast, Charter Communications, Dish Network and Google, financial and industry analysts said. However, the analysts also said that even if these wild card players do win spectrum, they likely will not be looking to build out wireless networks of their own.