Canada endorses Dish's LTE Advanced network, but FCC still on the fence

Dish Network told the FCC that it has received approval from the Canadian government to secure spectrum from two of TerreStar Networks' Canadian subsidiaries, and used the approval to press the FCC to give its own assent.

In a filing with the FCC, Dish said that Industry Canada, the Canadian governmental department that includes the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, approved the spectrum transfer to Dish's subsidiary, Gamma. "In approving the transfers, Industry Canada reached the conclusion that they would be in the public interest in light of 'the capacity that would be available in Canada,' among other reasons," Dish wrote in its filing.

Dish is seeking the FCC's approval to build an LTE Advanced network with the 40 MHz of S-band spectrum in the 2 GHz range it purchased from TerreStar Networks and DBSD North America (the spectrum is in two separate 20 MHz blocks). In conjunction with the spectrum license transfer, Dish wants the FCC to waive its Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) "integrated service" rule, and permit Dish to provide both dual-mode devices and single-mode terrestrial devices to customers who do not want the satellite function.

Last week Dish vehemently argued against a number of recommendations AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) made to the FCC regarding the stipulations that should be placed on Dish's spectrum licenses. AT&T argued that Dish should be held to the same terrestrial buildout targets that the FCC imposed on LightSquared: at least 100 million POPs within 33 months, 145 million POPs within 45 months and 260 million POPs within 69 months. However, Dish argued it should not be pressured to build its proposed network at that timetable because the LTE Advanced ecosystem will not be mature enough.

Hanging over the issue is widespread believe that AT&T could be interested in purchasing or leasing spectrum from Dish. AT&T has said the FCC should not restrict Dish's ability to sell or lease its spectrum to larger telecommunications companies, a stipulation the agency placed on LightSquared. Dish made no mention of that issue in its filing last week with the FCC.

An FCC spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the FCC's timetable for a decision on the license transfer.

For more:
- see this filing

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