Dish LTE Build May Still Be Giant Bluff – As Company Insists They’ll Proceed Without FCC Waiver
Nobody really knows if Dish is bluffing about building an LTE Advanced network. Some believe that Dish really is considering building a major LTE network that could help compete with major carriers — potentially by around 2016. Others believe that Dish boss Charlie Ergen is just bluffing in order to bloat the price of the company’s spectrum holdings before a sale. Dish needs an FCC waiver to allow them to build the network they’re dreaming of (conditions require they offer satellite phone service), but if they don’t get it the company still sees a niche for satellite phone services:
Even if the FCC lifts the satellite burden, Ergen believes there’s a “minor” market for satellite-capable handsets, identifying targets such as first responders and people who live in rural areas that are beyond the reach of cellular connections….Dish has teamed with Qualcomm to develop a new chipset that can operate in both terrestrial and satellite modes in the 2GHz/AWS-4 bands. Ergen’s using this as hedge just in case the FCC doesn’t let Dish use its spectrum with terrestrial-only wireless devices.
Despite these claims, there are more than a few analysts I’ve spoken to who continue to think a Dish LTE build is simply a lie designed to bump Dish’s acquired spectrum value.
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