It’s always interesting when we hear of companies looking to enter the already crowded US Wireless Industry and with Dish, it looks like it’s going to be a lot fun to watch. The FCC have since given the network the go ahead to use the AWS-4 Spectrum for their planned LTE network. There’s now a little bit of a catch to go along with this, the Network has been given just 7 years to roll out 70 per cent coverage of their network. The network plans on rolling out their network at a rate of 10 per cent a year and if they fall behind on these plans then they could well face severe consequences. If Dish were to sleep on their roll out in the first 4 years for instance, they would have just a few years to make up the rest of it. The FCC have said that Dish’s license to uncovered areas will automatically expire if they fail to meet targets.
It’s certainly an interesting approach by the FCC here and I like what they’re trying to do, by taking this sort of approach it could well be the best way to test Dish’s mettle. If the network is serious about entering the wireless industry then they’ll have to work, not only to get there but, to keep themselves there. Other competitors were worried that Dish would intentionally cover the most lucrative regions and simply risk losing rural areas. Whether or not this is the case is something we’ll have to watch. I don’t know how I would handle it if I were Dish but, I would try my best to roll out in the areas that AT&T, Big Red et al aren’t making a go of.
Competition is something I think the US market is desperately in need of, while Sprint has secured massive investment from Softbank and have recently bought the remainder of Clearwire, it doesn’t mean they’re going to become a match for the two biggest carriers – AT&T and Verizon. With Big Red looking to complete a full US roll out of LTE next year, entering the market at this stage looks like a very big risk, indeed. I don’t know about you but, I certainly wish them luck.