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FCC allows Dish Network to use spectrum for cellular network

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FCC allows Dish Network to use spectrum for cellular network
Taking one giant step toward its goal of becoming a major mobile carrier, Dish Network received approval from the FCC to change some of its spectrum used for satellite transmissions, into spectrum for a land based cellular network. The spectrum owned by the satellite content provider, 40MHz in the AWS-4 band, isn't considered the best for celllular transmissions, but is usable. On Tuesday, a Dish spokesman said the company will "consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers."

The FCC did put some conditions on Dish. Sprint, which had been against giving Dish this permission in the first place, uses the spectrum near AWS-4 and as a result the FCC limited how much spectrum Dish can use. The FCC also limited Dish's power levels as well so as to prevent its signal from interfering with nearby signals from other carriers. The result is that Dish will have a smaller amount of spectrum it can use when it launches its network. And as part of the deal, the FCC will auction off spectrum in the AWS-H Block which is close to Dish's holdings and has been eyed by Sprint. The whole story is no surprise since last month FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said that he would sign off on Dish's request to use the spectrum for cellular service if Dish would lower the power levels. Genachowski will testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday about the deal and about a proposal to auction off spectrum belonging to broadcasters in 2014.

With outspoken Dish Network Chairman Charles Egren's dream of owning a mobile operator coming closer to becoming a reality, Dish could seek a partner like Google. With Japan's Softbank buying 70% of Sprint and T-Mobile merging with MetroPCS, toss in a new carrier led by Dish and the U.S. mobile carrier industry could look quite different at this time next year.

source: FCC via Reuters

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