Dish Network's spectrum holdings are currently valued at about 45% less than what they should be at, according to market analyst firm Jefferies. The spectrum in question is middle-band spectrum, which falls between the higher-band spectrum used in small cell setups and the low-band spectrum used for long-distance coverage or LTE in concrete buildings. Because of the value and where the spectrum stands, Jefferies is saying that this represents a big opportunity for anybody who would like to invest in LTE and 5G infrastructure, particularly players such as wireless carriers, who may be able to leverage Dish Networks' mid-range spectrum to supplement their own.
According to a letter from Jefferies to investors and partners, Dish Networks' spectrum is of particular value not only because of its position in the market, but because of how quickly and easily it could be deployed, and its unique property of being able to host asynchronous downstream capacity. In layman's terms, this means that it could fit perfectly into the gaps in a provider's portfolio, would be quick and cheap to get out to market, and would allow for higher network capacity and better overall speed on the downlink. Since wireless customers tend to be highly likely to download and consume more data and content than they send upstream, this advantage would benefit wireless carriers more than any other subset of potential investors.
While other players could invest and potentially make use of Dish Networks' massive spectrum holdings in the mid-range to bridge the gap in their own inventory, the company does have its own plans. The company is reportedly planning on becoming a wireless carrier or partnering with one, but also has plans outside of that arena. Not long ago, it announced that it planned on building out a network specially made for Internet of Things devices. While this may not be the planned usage of potential investors, it is an important part of the future of networking, particularly in the arena of 5G. IoT as a field has long been subject to a massive standards war that threatened to cause proprietary solutions to pop up everywhere, but recent moves in tentative and prospective 5G development have been making it more and more appealing for IoT in general to adopt a universal, 5G-based standard. Dish Network and any potential investors, naturally, would be in an optimal position to take advantage of this tendency.