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Analysts Believe Dish Should Sell Spectrum to AT&T & Verizon

April 21, 2016 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Dish Network’s spectrum has been a big topic as of late, when it comes to spectrum. Dish has been acquiring spectrum in various spectrum auctions over the past few years, and have amassed a pretty large amount of spectrum. In fact they are taking part in the Incentive auction right now for the 600MHz spectrum. As of right now, Dish has done nothing with the spectrum they’ve bought, and have made no plans public about using this spectrum. This leads analysts to wondering what Dish might do or what should they do with this spectrum. As one would expect, the FCC or Federal Communication Commission, does have a few rules when talking about spectrum. And one is that license-holders need to use these airwaves within a time frame. So far, Dish has not yet exceeded that time frame, but that could happen very soon.

During the company’s earnings call this week, executives stated that the company is considering deploying either fixed-line or mobile services on the airwaves that they have licenses too. They also talked about how demand for next-generation offerings like on-the-go video could benefit from this. Of course, Dish’s executives declined to go into any specific strategies when talking about these next-generation offerings.  Dish’s CEO, Charlie Ergen talked about AT&T’s strategy with buying DirecTV and combining it with their current services, saying that he “thinks what AT&T is doing is logical” and that what they are doing will “advance the industry.”

Analysts have started weighing in and saying that “Verizon and AT&T can’t retain the share of industry revenue they have today without Dish’s spectrum.” They went on to state that it’s highly possible that either carrier will “purchase the spectrum or relinquish revenue to whomever deploys it”. It’s important to note here that right now the mid-band spectrum that Dish has is trading much lower than what carriers bought it for in the AWS-3 auction last year.

It’s pretty likely that Dish Network won’t do anything with their spectrum until after the spectrum auction is completed. Right now the FCC is auctioning off 600MHz spectrum, which is very important to carriers, as it allows them to get better coverage with less towers. And Dish will definitely want to get a decent amount of that spectrum.