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.
T-Mobile US told the FCC that the agency prohibit Dish Network and its designated entity partners from bidding in the future on AWS-3 licenses on which the Dish DEs "selectively" defaulted. T-Mobile also wants the FCC to consider Dish and the Dish DEs "former defaulters," requiring them to provide 50 percent greater upfront payment if they want to participate in the upcoming 600 MHz incentive auction.
Verizon Wireless is going to run out of spectrum over the next few years but could get a lifeline if it strikes a spectrum leasing agreement with Dish Network, according to a report from analysts at New Street Research.
Verizon Communications plans to participate in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV spectrum, but the company is more interested in acquiring higher-band spectrum for capacity, according to a senior Verizon executive.
T-Mobile US is seen as the carrier with the clearest shot to acquiring spectrum in next year's incentive auction of 600 MHz broadcast TV airwaves, especially now that Sprint has decided not to participate. However, dozens of smaller carriers that are members of the Competitive Carriers Association are still likely to participate and try to grab spectrum-- it's just not clear at this point how many ultimately will.
To get you ready for the third-quarter earnings conference calls, here are the most pressing questions I think the top executives at Tier 1 carriers need to answer over the next few weeks.