FCC frees up Dish spectrum for mobile, sets stage for H Block auction

The decisions should help new or existing carriers boost their mobile capacity

By , IDG News Service |  Unified Communications

The FCC will allow cellular services on a large block of satellite spectrum held by Dish Network and auction off another set of frequencies to raise money for an LTE public safety network around the U.S.

The Federal Communications Commission's unanimous approval late Tuesday of its so-called AWS-4 order may lead to Dish launching its own national LTE service or selling rights to the 40MHz of spectrum to another carrier. The agency also unanimously voted to move forward with a plan to auction another 10MHz of spectrum, called the H Block, which Congress had called for in order to raise money to pay for a uniform, modern public safety network.

Both moves were part of an FCC initiative to free up 500MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband by 2020, in response to what Chairman Julius Genachowski has called dramatically increasing consumer demand for mobile data capacity.

Dish welcomed the AWS-4 decision after saying for months that uncertainty about the spectrum was holding it back.

"Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, Dish will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers," the company said.

The decision didn't give Dish exactly what it wanted. It includes limits on how much power Dish can use in the part of its spectrum that is next to the H Block, to prevent interference with services in that band. Last month, when the proposal was circulated among the FCC commissioners, the company said those power limits would cripple its ability to enter the cellular business.

However, market realities alone will probably be enough to keep Dish from actually building its own LTE network, according to Phil Marshall, an analyst at Tolaga Research. More likely the company will sell or lease the frequencies to an established carrier, he said. Dish paid about US$2.6 billion for the spectrum by buying two bankrupt satellite companies last year, and the bands are expected to be worth much more with the terrestrial approval in place.

"A wholesale spectrum play would make more sense to me," Marshall said. "The market has already matured to a point that it's very difficult to be a new entrant."

Google reportedly is among the companies that have been in talks with Dish over a possible partnership to offer wireless service, though it's unclear if any deal will be made, and Google has declined to comment.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Unified CommunicationsWhite Papers & Webcasts

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Answers - Powered by ITworld

ITworld Answers helps you solve problems and share expertise. Ask a question or take a crack at answering the new questions below.

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

Ask a Question
randomness