Sticker shock looms over Dish's mobile strategy

The FCC is looking to reject $3.3 billion in discounts on spectrum licenses

Wireless spectrum is likely to get about US$3.3 billion more pricey for Dish Network, the U.S. satellite TV operator that's angling to get into the mobile business.

Two companies affiliated with Dish won frequency licenses in the Federal Communications Commission's AWS-3 auction earlier this year and expected a 25 percent discount that was designed to get smaller players involved. But the FCC's now drafted an order that says those companies don't qualify for the savings because they're really controlled by Dish.

Dish met on Wednesday with FCC staff, along with affiliate companies Northstar Wireless and SNR Wireless, and was informed that a draft order from the agency says the two companies aren't eligible for the discount because Dish owns controlling interests in them.

Northstar stood to save $1.9 billion and SNR about $1.4 billion. They would still be eligible to buy the licenses, but only at the full bid price. In addition, the FCC won't bring the matter to a hearing or refer it to the U.S. Department of Justice, Dish said.

The draft order still needs to be approved by a majority of the FCC commissioners.

Dish said it complied with all legal requirements and that it disagreed with the agency's proposed decision. Its participation in the auction, in which AT&T and Verizon were the biggest bidders, was intended to enhance competition, the company said.

Counting the bids by Northstar and SNR, Dish bid about $10 billion in the auction, nearly as much as Verizon put up. The auction raised more than $40 billion, which will go toward the planned FirstNet national public-safety network.

Dish doesn't have a mobile network but has been accumulating spectrum licenses that it might use for one. After a failed effort to acquire Sprint in 2013, Dish recently was reported to be in merger talks with T-Mobile USA. Meanwhile, AT&T's acquisition of Dish rival DirecTV is expected to close soon.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags governmentmobilelegalFederal Communications CommissionDISH Network

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?