Charlie Ergen's Dish Gets FCC Approval for Wireless Plans

Analysts expect the satellite TV giant to launch mobile video and broadband offers.

The FCC late Tuesday gave Charlie Ergen's Dish Network long-sought approval to convert satellite spectrum, which it had acquired, for use for wireless services, including an expected mobile video and broadband offer.

Dish earlier this year had said it was hoping to launch mobile TV, telephony and broadband services.

“The FCC has removed outdated regulations and granted terrestrial flexibility for most of the AWS-4 [spectrum] band," said Dish senior vp and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum. "We appreciate the hard work and focus of the FCC and its staff throughout this process."

He added: "The commission has taken an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation...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.”

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Although some parts of the Dish spectrum are likely to be held to standards "that are tougher than originally expected, reducing the utility of this spectrum, the core value of Dish’s spectrum remains intact," Credit Suisse analyst Stefan Anninger said last week in a report that looked at what a positive FCC decision would mean for Dish.

The company earlier this year closed its acquisitions of wireless spectrum owners DBSD North America and TerreStar Networks for more than $3 billion.

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Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker previously suggested that Dish could use content from its Blockbuster business, which it previously acquired, in connection with the spectrum. "There is clearly an over-the-top service on the horizon," she said. "Once the network is deployed, consumers will be able to use their devices [including broadband-capable tablet computers] for high-speed Internet access as well as a myriad of IP-based, over-the-top applications, including video."

Twitter: @georgszalai