Dish plans to sell spectrum if networking plans fall apart

Dish plans to sell spectrum if networking plans fall apart

Summary: If Dish Networks' wireless network project fails, potentially "billions of dollars" in spectrum may flood the market.

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Credit: James Martin, CNET

If Dish Networks' attempts to create a wireless network fall flat, the firm intends to cut its losses and sell its excess spectrum reserves.

Approximately two months ago, Dish managed to secure FCC approval to use Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to create such a network -- spectrum reserves that were acquired from TerreStar and satellite operator DBSD.

A trademark application filed by Dish last week requested the brand name "Racecar" for a wireless broadband service, which would be used for "wireless telephony and wireless broadband communications services for the transmission of voice, data, graphics and video; wireless broadband communication services; providing Internet access."

The Englewood, Colorado-based firm will sell its spectrum if current plans to find a partner in order to build the wireless network fall short.

Bloomberg reports that if no partner for "Racecar" is found, then "billions of dollars of spectrum" could appear on the market, according to Dish Networks chairman Charles Ergen at a recent conference. Ergen also commented:

"We would admit we failed and try a new approach. We would hang a 'for sale' sign on the spectrum."

The chairman says that a wireless network is crucial to the firm's future plans to connect media to its satellite television subscribers, not only in the home, but also through mobile devices.

Dish Networks is currently offering $3.30 a share to try and secure a minority stake in wireless carrier Clearwire, competing against rival firm Sprint Nextel which has been capped by its majority shareholder Softbank at $2.97 a share in its bid to secure the remaining shares it doesn't already own. Sprint currently owns over 50 percent of the wireless carrier, and Clearwire has commented that while it would consider Dish's bid, it is "severely limited by its current contractual arrangements."

Topics: Networking, Mobility, Wi-Fi

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