Dish Still Looking For LTE Network Partner
'Not Suicidal,' May Sell Spectrum if Options Falter
Dish continues to hint they need more spectrum if they're to seriously enter the wireless sector and compete with the likes of AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Speaking at the PCIA wireless infrastructure conference
, Dish boss Charlie Ergen stated the company needs more 40 MHz of 2 GHz S-band spectrum to compete, and reiterated that the company will likely have to partner with somebody else to make their wireless ambitions a reality.
On the flip side Ergen also noted that the company might have to sell their spectrum if their ambitions don't work out and they can't get FCC to approve a requested waiver for spectrum conditions:
However, Ergen cautioned that the wireless bet is not a sure thing. "We may end having to sell the spectrum," he said. "We're not suicidal." He said Dish's preference is not to sell its spectrum but to build out a network that can take advantage of burgeoning wireless data growth. "This is going to be a tough project for us," he said. "But it's not our first rodeo."
Back in March the FCC delayed a waiver decision
that would allow Dish to ignore some of the satellite phone requirements placed on the spectrum they plan to use. That's not a huge deal, since the LTE Advanced equipment for its S-band spectrum they plan to use likely won't even be available until 2015. Both investors
have spent much of the year wondering if Dish's entire LTE plan is a bluff designed to inflate Ergen's spectrum holdings before a sale.
Too many bands This may be a bit offtopic, but the bands being put into use for wireless strike me as a jumbled mess. First we had 850, and then we got 1900. That was fine, since many phones supported both. Then, more phones added 900 and 1800 so they'd be usable on overseas networks. So far, so good. Then many countries launched 3G on 2100, so some phones even added that. Then, the AWS band at 1700/2100 was auctioned. Next came 700, and I really have no idea what band Dish has. Not to mention Clearwire, which I believe uses 2600. And if you consider that none of the phones doing LTE on 700 are compatible with any 700 band other than the specific one that their carrier uses, then you essentially have several different bands operating in that frequency range.
Is there any consideration at all at the FCC as to the giant mess this is creating? As bad as phone compatibility issues were between GSM, CDMA, and TDMA, you could at least have a reasonable shot of buying a device that could (in theory) work on any carrier that used the same technology, assuming that it was unlocked (GSM) or could be reprogrammed (CDMA/TDMA). As it stands now, that's pretty much gone out the window. It'd be like having to buy a different radio for each station you want to listen to.