DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) has been given approval by U.S. Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to offer smartphone services.
"The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted terrestrial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 band," Dish senior vice president and deputy general counsel, Jeff Blum, said in a statement today. “The commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation,” Jeff Blum said in an e-mailed statement after the vote. “Following a more thorough review of the order and its technical details, Dish will consider its strategic options and the optimal approach to put this spectrum to use for the benefit of consumers”.
The second largest U.S. satellite TV provider was awaiting FCC approval to start the wireless service that could compete with the largest U.S. mobile provider, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), and second largest, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T). Dish has enhanced its spectrum holding as it works towards decreasing its dependence on the Satellite TV business, which is suffering a decline in the subscribers.
“No matter how you slice it, this is a transformative outcome for Dish to expand beyond its pay-TV business,” Paul Gallant, Washington-based managing director at Guggenheim Securities, said in an interview. “Even if Dish loses the spectrum interference battle it’s been fighting, it still got most of what it wanted from the FCC”.
Earlier this year, DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) entered into talks with FCC, to grant it a waiver so that it could use 40 MHz of the spectrum in the 2GHz band for a 4G LTE wireless broadband network. Last month, the chairman of the FCC said that the DISH plan was favored as he wanted to see more competition in the wireless industry. In order to get approved, the company needs to restrict its network in order to prevent interference with other airwaves.
Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) was seeking to partner with Dish last week, as Sprint said that it offered the wireless service to customers in exchange for DISH’s unused mobile airwaves. Other than Sprint, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), are also interested in DISH Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH)’s airwaves. Sprint called the commission’s move “a balanced and equitable decision,” according to an e-mailed statement.
“By allocating this spectrum for commercial broadband use, the Commission is helping to bring more wireless broadband directly to consumers,” Larry Krevor, Sprint Nextel Corporation (NYSE:S) ’s vice president for government affairs said in the statement. “This will promote economic growth, investment, innovation, and increase the economic competitiveness of the U.S”.