Keep up with the latest developments and legal issues in the telecommunications and emerging technology sectors, with exclusive access to a comprehensive collection of telecommunications law news,...
DISH Network is pushing back against AT&T and other entities that are calling on the Federal Communications Commission to make a more aggressive buildout a requirement before granting the company a waiver to build a new mobile wireless network.
In a letter dated Feb. 2 and posted to the FCC website on Feb. 3, Dish Network general counsel Jeffery Blum noted "AT&T requests LightSquared-like buildout conditions on DISH's proposed 2 GHz ancillary terrestrial component ('ATC') network that would thwart DISH's efforts to bring these public interest benefits to consumers. AT&T also calls for unrelated and unwarranted conditions on DISH's 700 MHz authorizations."
DISH hopes to build an LTE Advanced network in 2GHz spectrum now assigned to mobile satellite service (MSS) use. While it has acquired licenses covering the nationwide spectrum, it must obtain an FCC waiver to use that spectrum for other uses.
DISH has proposed that any buildout requirement provide maximum flexibility, and be specifically linked to development and availability of LTE Advanced technology. LTE Advanced network equipment is not expected to be available in large quantities until 2013.
Handsets compatible with the new standard are expected in 2014. DISH puts "widespread availability of a terrestrial S-Band ecosystem" sometime in 2015.
According to Blum's letter, "building a 'green field' network using any standard other than LTE Advanced is simply not a competitive option," since doing so would require the company to invest in both the current generation of technology and then rapidly re-invest in LTE Advanced. The letter also makes explicit for the first time DISH's proposal is to build a retail network, rather than enter the market as a wholesale provider in competition with Clearwire and, potentially, LightSquared.
"Furthermore, building a retail service from the ground up takes time and careful planning,” Blum continued. “Among other things, putting a new service together will require DISH to lease tower space across the nation, develop devices in conjunction with consumer electronics manufacturers, devise competitive rate plans, extend its brand identity, expand its national retail presence, upgrade its nationwide customer support/billing system, and maintain a competitive position in device and service offerings as customer expectations and demands evolve".
DISH also brushes aside AT&T's request for the FCC to make waiver approval contingent on resolving potential interference between existing services and any new service launched on 700 MHz E-Block licenses held by DISH affiliate Manifest Wireless LLC. DISH states in the letter that it has not committed to using that 700 MHz spectrum for mobile broadband. Manifest has told the FCC that it is focused primarily on mobile video applications for that spectrum.
The most important point raised by DISH is that the "overly aggressive and unrealistic schedule AT&T advocates would likely set DISH up for failure or force DISH into unfavorable business arrangements with large Commercial Mobile Radio Service ("CMRS") carriers."
Whatever the specific outcomes of an accelerated schedule, the value of the spectrum to DISH would be reduced if it is forced to move ahead more quickly that it hopes. The company would, in fact, have to invest in older technology and then in deploying and making compatible a new generation of gear, adding significant costs and reducing its potential return on investment. If it has to spend that capital far in advance of any potential revenue, DISH will also be in a poorer negotiating position if it decides to sell off the licenses rather than build out a network in the spectrum.
Finally, any delay in obtaining a waiver from the FCC will also delay DISH's ability to settle on its final strategy for the spectrum licenses and greatly reduce its flexibility. And, as implied by the letter, though not stated explicitly, any of those negative impacts on DISH and on the value and salability of its licenses would be potentially positive for AT&T, which is increasingly anxious to find a way to recover from its failed merger with T-Mobile USA, counter Verizon Wireless' deal with SpectrumCo, or find some other affordable spectrum source in the absence of any firm plans to repurpose and auction any additional new spectrum.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)