Dish Network has been picking up spectrum at various spectrum auctions for a few years now. However, they have yet to really do anything with that spectrum. Most of their portfolio consists of mid-band spectrum, which isn't as attractive as the low-band or even the 2GHz and higher spectrum (which is gaining popularity with 5G on the horizon), but it is still quite useful for wireless carriers. With low-band spectrum, carriers are able to offer better coverage with less towers. As the spectrum can be spread further but on the other hand it has less bandwidth. However, spectrum above 2GHz has more bandwidth for capacity, but doesn't cover as wide of an area. Mid-band spectrum is right there in the middle, and that's what Dish owns right now.
There have been some reports that Dish Network's spectrum is a bit overvalued. However, Jefferies analysts do not agree with that. They did state in their research note that "while the 600MHz spectrum is attractive to carriers seeking to build out greater coverage, to best handle rapid growth in data usage and enhancing network capacity, mid-band is more attractive spectrum". Also noting that with 5G coming real soon, the mid-band spectrum is going to be a great addition to the higher-band spectrum that is needed to handle the number of users and data used by 5G networks. Jefferies also thinks that it is impossible to forecast when the next major spectrum auction will take place. Which many have pegged about a decade before the next low-band auction happens, however it may be sooner for mid-band and even higher-band spectrum auctions.
If Dish does put their spectrum up for sale or even for lease – as Comcast has done with Verizon a few years ago, in exchange for a MVNO deal – Jefferies believes that the carriers would be lining up to get a piece of their spectrum. For wireless carriers, spectrum is like food. They need it to survive. Especially with their ever-growing networks. Dish is going to need to figure something out with their spectrum. As the FCC's rules do not allow for them to just sit on spectrum and not use it. Dish is bidding in the 600MHz auction this year, although it's unclear how much spectrum they may be looking to pick up, or how much they are able to spend at the Incentive auction.