DISH Network will use the 600MHz spectrum it now owns to build a network focused on connecting things. The satellite provider is one of the biggest spenders in the recent incentive auction conducted by the FCC to sell the 600MHz frequency previously held by the TV broadcasters, with DISH Network spending $6.2 billion for 486 licenses in some of the largest urban areas in the United States. According to Charlie Ergen, the CEO of DISH Network, the company focused on urban areas when it was buying portions of the 600MHz frequency as the customers in these areas will be the ones to likely benefit the most from a network of internet-connected devices. DISH Network's CEO also stated that the company was "pleasantly surprised" by how the auction went, with the prices going below its expectations, allowing the company to secure frequencies in its target urban areas.
DISH Network's purchase of 600MHz spectrum is a part of the satellite provider's plan to build a narrowband Internet-of-Things (NB-IoT) network, which is an all-IP network focused on IoT use cases. The deployment of an all-IP network allows DISH to take advantage of 5G technologies once they are finalized, providing improved latency and increased capacity important for IoT use cases. In addition, an all-IP network is a cheaper to deploy compared to a traditional network, which is important for DISH as it is under pressure by the FCC to use the 700MHz and AWS-4 bands assigned to it by March 2020.
Aside from DISH, the other big spenders in the FCC's incentive auction of the 600MHz spectrum are T-Mobile and Comcast, with the participants spending a total of $18.2 billion for the spectrum. The major advantages of the 600MHz spectrum are its wider coverage and improved building penetration. There are already several planned uses for the 600MHz spectrum, with T-Mobile deploying LTE service in the said frequency and later on, refarming a portion of the spectrum to carry low band 5G. Comcast, another big spender in the auction, was expected to use 600MHz spectra for its own wireless service but its smaller than expected spending may point to other plans for the cable company.