Dish Network asked the FCC to pause its review of Softbank's proposed $20.1 billion acquisition of 70 percent of Sprint Nextel so that Dish can resolve issues related to its bid for Clearwire, which Sprint still hopes to acquire for $2.2 billion.
The rumored deal comes as Softbank and Sprint Nextel seek regulatory approval for Softbank's $20.1 billion purchase of 70 percent of Sprint, which will involve a substantial acquisition of spectrum and may raise similar concerns from U.S. regulators.
Dish Network made an unsolicited offer to purchase Clearwire for $3.30 per share. The deal competes with a previous bid for the company by majority shareholder Sprint Nextel, which bid $2.2 billion last month.
LAS VEGAS--Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said it will probably be months before the company finalizes its plan for how to proceed with its wireless network as it works through regulatory and technical hurdles.
LAS VEGAS--Dish Network announced a new service the company said will allow Dish subscribers to view live and recorded DVR programs via their mobile devices, and to move programs they recorded on their DVR onto an iPad for offline viewing. The technology helps to highlight the increasingly innovative ways that TV is migrating into the mobile realm as well as Dish's expanding interest in the mobile industry.
Dish Network CEO Joseph Clayton said the company is still looking for a wireless carrier to partner with to build out its planned LTE Advanced network, but he seemed to rule out Sprint Nextel as a partner.
The FCC said Dish Network must cover at least 40 percent of the population in areas covered by its spectrum with a wireless network in the next four years, or face penalties. Further, the FCC said Dish must cover at least 70 percent of that population within seven years. Dish has said it plans to build an LTE Advanced network with its spectrum.
The FCC voted unanimously to approve Dish Network's plans to use its MSS S-band spectrum for terrestrial use, an action Dish has been pushing for during the past year. Dish has said it plans to build out an LTE Advanced network by 2016. However, reports indicate that Dish will be required to use a portion of its spectrum at a lower power level than it had originally wanted, a position Sprint Nextel had pushed for.
Sprint Nextel and Dish Network, which are battling each other at the FCC over technical issues related to Dish's satellite spectrum, held talks recently on the possibility of Sprint hosting Dish's spectrum on its network, according to a Bloomberg report.
Sprint Nextel blasted Dish Network's latest proposal to set aside 5 MHz of the lower portion of its spectrum as a "guard band" to protect the PCS H Block. Sprint said in a recent FCC filing that Dish's proposal would actually lead to an increased risk of interference in the H Block, which Sprint has indicated it wants to bid on next year to use for LTE.