The Washington Post

Dish Network moves into wireless, taking on AT&T, Verizon, LightSquared

(Paul Sakuma/AP)

In a filing this week with the Federal Communications Commission, the satellite television provider applied for approval to combine satellite spectrum licenses to use for mobile broadband services.

“We are excited about the opportunity to put this nationwide spectrum to productive use for competitive and innovative mobile broadband services,” Dish’s executive vice president Tom Cullen said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The regulatory flexibility we are seeking is consistent with FCC precedent while benefiting consumers by providing greater choice and broader service coverage,” he added.

The plan would be similar to that of LightSquared, the satellite mobile broadband company funded by hedge fund billionaire Philip Falcone. LightSquared has run into trouble over interference concerns by the Federal Aviation Administration and companies that rely on GPS technology.

Dish’s network wouldn’t operate on the same band as GPS and wouldn’t encounter the same concerns over interference.

The FCC has touted the potential of LightSquared to bring new competition to the mobile broadband industry.

With the move, Dish pushes forward with its plan to become a bigger player in media and telecommunications. Here’s our Sunday Business feature from last April on Dish’s vision.

The company has been on a buying spree with the acquisition of TerreStar and DBSD — both of which hold satellite spectrum licenses. The Englewood, Colo.-based company also bought Blockbuster out of bankruptcy, a move aimed directly at Netflix, which has soared in popularity with its Internet-streaming video.

The application filed earlier this week specifically asks the FCC to approve the transfer of TerreStar’s S-Band licenses to Dish and combine that application with Dish’s previous application for DBSD S-Band licenses.


Q&A with Dish CEO Joseph Clayton

FCC asks more questions from LightSquared over GPS concerns

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.



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