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Verizon and Dish Could Reach Spectrum Deal by End of 2015

September 22, 2015 - Written By Tom Dawson

Just as our smartphones require apps to be of any real use to us, networks such as AT&T and Verizon need spectrum to keep their services running and to keep beaming those funny cat videos to your devices. The whole “we need more spectrum” mantra from the big networks in the US has been carrying on for years and years now, and while it’s unlikely to change any time soon, new players have caused quite a stir recently. Most notably, Dish Network snapped up a decent amount of spectrum that you’d traditionally see the likes of Verizon and T-Mobile use for new 4G network space, expanding their coverage and easing congestion in well-trodden areas. Recently, we reported that it seemed as though Verizon wasn’t interested in buying the whole company for the spectrum Dish has, now it appears as though a deal could be reached before the end of the year on other terms.

As FierceWireless is reporting, New Street analysts Jonathan Chaplin, Spencer Kurn and Vivek Stalam seem to think that Verizon have softened in their approach, and a deal could be made pretty soon, before the end of 2015. Comments from the likes of Verizon’s Lowell McAdam, the company’s CEO seem to allude a new approach from Verizon. McAdam says that a deal could involve Verizon “supplying megabytes” to Dish and them “paying for it with spectrum”. This sort of thing would suggest a sort of licensing share or something similar. Make no mistake, Verizon getting hold of Dish’s spectrum would be beneficial for the network, as the Dish Network has more than you think.

Dish Network already controlled 40 MHz of AWS-4 spectrum, 10 MHz of 1900 PCS H Block spectrum and 6 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum, but they recently got their hands on 702 licenses to 25 Mhz of AWS-3 spectrum, including 13 Mhz of paired spectrum. Simply put, this is an awful lot of network potential in the hands of a company that currently doesn’t run their own wireless network.

Spectrum is valuable stuff these days, and despite the fact that 5G is on the horizon, there’s plenty of runway left in 4G, the problem is that networks need more spectrum to unlock its potential. Whether or not Verizon and Dish actually come to a deal before the year comes to a close remains to be seen, but it would be interesting – and a blow to their competitors – if Verizon managed to get exclusive rights from Dish.