DISH will serve up spectrum on a platter if wireless plans prove unpalatable

12 Feb 2013

US satellite TV giant DISH Network intends to sell its potentially lucrative 2GHz spectrum holdings in the so-called ‘S-band’ if its current plan to find a partner with which to launch a wireless network does not come to fruition. Bloomberg quotes DISH chairman Charlie Ergen who declared that ‘billions of dollars of spectrum’ could be made available if the ambitious scheme backfires. ‘We would admit we failed and try a new approach. We would hang a ‘for sale’ sign on the spectrum,’ he said.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved DISH’s acquisition of S-band satellite spectrum from bankrupt satellite smartphone operator TerreStar in July 2011 and hybrid satellite and communications company DBSD North America (February 2011). After its August 2012 approach for mobile operator MetroPCS proved unsuccessful, DISH went back to the drawing board and attempted to lure Clearwire away from suitor Sprint Nextel with an unsolicited USD3.30 per share counter-bid. In November 2012 DISH was also linked to a wireless tie-up with search engine giant Google Inc.