Dish Planning Internet-based TV Service?

Dish Network is acquiring content for an Internet-based television service that would play live channels, according to Bloomberg.

Dish and Viacom have reportedly been in talks about a deal for about a year since Dish first approached the company about a potential TV service. But the companies are far from a deal, says Bloomberg.

Dish’s pitch to the TV companies goes something like this: offer a relatively small bundle of shows for Web viewing at a discounted price. Consumers wouldn’t have to buy an entire “tier”.

Cable companies don’t want to break up their packages for a la carte viewing. You have do take their bundles. If you want ESPN, you’ll have to take other Disney content.

Dish’s proposed streaming service could shake up the pay TV industry. Instead of cable bundling networks together, consumers could choose. Like Hulu, except streaming. Dish already runs an internet streaming subscription service under its Blockbuster brand. But it’s only available to Dish subscribers and focuses on movies on demand, not live TV.

Dish, of course, owns 40 MHz of 2.1 GHz spectrum. The FCC is expected to soon allow Dish to use it for terrestrial LTE service.

Charlie Ergen’s keynote speech October 3, at the Wireless Infrastructure Show, will “discuss DISH’s wireless plans” and be followed by a Q&A session with FCC Chairman Genachowski.

Make up your own scenario.

My favorite is a Dish partnership from platform/app providers like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google. They make settops and phones. They have app stores and video content. Wireless streaming via LTE-A might let you order a-la carte on top of basic “broadcast” tier of a dozen channels.

Clearwire might get rebranded as Clearfiber. Their wireless cable service would be available only in urban centers where microcells are cost/effective. This is just speculation.

Could Dish and Clear go it alone without a voice carrier? MetroPCS is shopping around for a potential merger partner and talking with T-Mobile USA, Dish Network and Sprint Nextel, according to DealReporter.

Clearwire plans to deploy 5,000 TD-LTE base stations by June 2013. They’ll offer Voice over LTE when it launches in June 2013. Clearwire LTE customers include Sprint and Leap Wireless. Sprint will have VoLTE devices in the first quarter of 2013.

T-Mobile has nationwide AWS infrastructure that could also be home to Dish’s 2.1 GHz spectrum. Maybe T-MO will expand their LTE services on Clearwire’s towers with an integrated 2.1/2.6 GHz/AWS Network Vision approach. Basestation clouds in hotzones could deliver the goods in the next iteration.

Japan has an interesting microcell model created by Softbank. Softbank’s TD-LTE network now has 100,000 users served by 7,000 TD-LTE base stations on the 2.6 GHz band, with 3,000 more base stations planned by year’s end. Softbank is expected to introduce a Huawei-produced TD-LTE-based smartphone this October.

Some 99% of Japan’s 127 million people are within range of the world’s largest commercial TD-LTE network, using NSN, Ericsson and ZTE Microcells. Softbank’s network operates with 30 megahertz of bandwidth on the 2.5 gigahertz band.

LTE-A lets you multicast. Dish is good at that. Their satellite television network has 14 million commercial and residential customers in the United States.

Time/Warner has begun selling its stake in Clearwire. Time Warner Cable said last week that it planned to shed its entire 7.8 percent stake in Clearwire. It paid $550 million for the stock in 2008. At Clearwire’s $1.48 closing price yesterday, the stake is currently worth only about $68 million. Comcast might be right behind them. Comcast paid over $1B for their piece of Clearwire.

Why would T/W take such a hit? There might be several explanations; (A) Clearwire offers no potential for cable operators, or (B) Clearwire is becoming a competitive threat. The correct answer is (C). Cable companies can now become MVNOs of Verizon’s wireless service, under the terms of their AWS sale to Verizon.

Whether Dish Networks will be a competitive “wireless cable” service remains to be seen. A Clear/Dish partnership could deliver 200 MHz of roaming bandwidth, along with “wireless cable”. Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s Facetime, and Google+ will make Voice over LTE a reality. That’s a quadruple play — voice, video, internet and mobile.

Dish may be a threat to both cable and mobile operators. That’s a good thing.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Mobile: The New Television, Dish Turns On Satellite Broadband, Comcast Writes Down Clearwire Investment, Google Pulls Out of Clearwire, Clearwire Buyout Rumored, Clearwire Chooses LTE Advanced, Sprint: New Investment in Clearwire?, Google & Motorola: A Wireless Cable Play? , Spectrum Drama: Made for TV, LTE Spectrum: It’s War, AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone and Data Revenues: Over The Top

T-Mobile Sells Towers to Crown Castle

T-Mobile USA said today, that Crown Castle International has agreed to buy the rights to about 7,200 T-Mobile towers for $2.4 billion in cash to help its parent Deutsche Telekom pay back debt.

Over a minimum of 10 years, T-Mobile will maintain its communications facilities on the towers and will have the right, subject to certain limitations, to make modernization changes on the sites. The urban-focused Crown Castle said that 83 percent of the towers are in the top 100 U.S. markets and 72 percent are in the top 50 markets.

Crown Castle has the option to pay another $2.4 billion to buy the 7,200 wireless towers outright from T-Mobile USA at the end of the lease term for each tower – between 2025 and 2048 – under the deal announced Friday.

Houston-based Crown Castle International owns, operates and leases wireless towers and antennas. T-Mobile USA, which is spending $4 billion on a network upgrade, has been looking for ways to become more financially independent from its parent, which had tried to exit the U.S. market the year before. T-Mobile USA towers will now have Crown Castle as their landlord.

Crown Castle owns or control approximately 30,000 towers in the U.S. eclipsing rival American Tower’s stateside holdings by approximately 36%. Boston-based American Tower Corporation operates a combined 30,000 sites in the United States, Mexico, Brazil and India.

SBA Communications, founded in 1989 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, is the 3rd largest tower owner/operator. They bought more than 3,200 cell tower sites from TowerCo for $1.45 billion this summer, as it looks to capitalize on the rising demand for wireless data services.

Because they primarily act as landlords, consolidation of wireless carriers is generally bad news for tower owners, but the growth of 4G and wireless demand is expected to keep the business thriving.

Crown Castle said it expects the towers to generate about $125 million to $130 million in adjusted funds from operations before financing costs in 2013. Tower buyers expect to pay as much 12 times or more the unit’s cash flow.

AT&T MiFi:10 Hrs + Touchscreen

AT&T’s MiFi Liberate sports a vibrant 2.8” color touchscreen display says Novatel Wireless. The device can be used on AT&T’s LTE network, now in more than 70 cities, as well as its much more broadly available HSPA+ and 3G networks. The global-ready MiFi Liberate offers connectivity in more than 200 countries (but probably not Verizon).

It can connect up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to fast 4G LTE on AT&T’s network. Customers can also access and share files and media stored on the inserted microSD card from connected Wi-Fi or DLNA capable devices. You can check data usage, manage connected devices, change settings, enable MiFi Media Center and more…directly on the touchscreen. With up to 11 hours of battery life and the industry’s most advanced security features. AT&T didn’t release the price or when it will be available.

Dish Turns On Satellite Broadband

DISH, a leading national provider of satellite TV, has finally launched their High Throughput Satellite, dishNET, for satellite broadband. Available Oct. 1, dishNET starts at $40 a month, for 5 Mbps down & 1Mbps up with a 10GB data cap. Dish says it offers customers the convenience of one bill, one installation, one customer service number.

Combining dishNET with DISH TV saves $10 per month. Most satellite customers can upgrade to a 10 Mbps /1 Mbps plan available with 20 GB of data for $49.99 per month. Existing Dish subscribers and those taking the TV service for the first time can sign up for free and get $10 a month knocked off the price. Standalone broadband subscribers pay $99 upfront and the full monthly fee.

The new satellite broadband service will be available nationwide.

Dish also offers wireline service through local exchange carriers in 14 states—Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. They will fold its wireline service into the dishNET brand. Wired dishNet packages start at $29.95 for 7 Mbps download, with upgrades to 12 Mbps for an additional $5 or 20 Mbps for $10 more.

Dish is targeting the 14.5 million underserved rural residents.

The huge new satellite, Echostar XVII, also known as Jupiter-1, was launched by Arianespace, on 5 July 2012. It will augment the SPACEWAY 3 satellite system, which Hughes put into commercial service in April 2008. HughesNet Gen4 uses the new EchoStar XVII satellite with Jupiter high-throughput technology.

DishNET competes with ViaSat Exede, which ViaSat launched last year using a similar satellite ViaSat-1. ViaSat-1 supplements earlier satellite broadband by their previous satellite, WildBlue-1. ViaSat resellers included DISH Network, AT&T and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC).

ViaSat’s Bruce Rowe clarifies that while dishNET does compete against their Exede Internet service in some sense, DISH will use both HughesNet Gen4 and Exede services to supply dishNET. DISH remains their largest installation and distribution partner and ViaSat’s Exede expects to gain sales through dishNET.

The WildBlue company was bought two years ago by ViaSat. Charlie Ergin’s Echostar bought the Hughes High throughput satellite (EchoStar XVII) to enable dishNET.

Both satellite broadband companies provide a significant leap in speed and capacity over their previous generation 20/30 GHz satellites. Additional and smaller spot beams allow channels to be reused enabling one satellite to have almost ten times the capacity of previous generations.

Satellite broadband still has its limitations including the requirement for a clear view of the south sky, relatively expensive and bulky satellite terminals and latency.

Like competitor ViaSat, which launched it’s Ka-band ViaSat-1 in October 2011, these new generation High Throughput Satellites offer far more broadband capacity than previous generations.

Both ViaSat-1 and EchoStar XVII should make satellite broadband access more competitive with 4G wireless and provide broadband access where DSL or Cable Modems aren’t available.

Previous satellites had extremely restrictive download caps since their transponder capacity was limited. While the new high throughput satellites still have download caps, the prices and speeds can now be more competitive with 700 MHz 4G services, such as those offered by AT&T and Verizon.

High throughput is enabled by using higher frequencies (20/30 GHz) that allow multiple spotbeams to use the same frequencies without interference.

At the time of its launch, ViaSat-1 was the world’s highest capacity communications satellite with a total capacity in excess of 140 Gbit/s, more than all the satellites covering North America combined. ViaSat’s WildBlue, their previous broadband satellite, will supplement ViaSat-1’s coverage.

ViaSat’s broadband service called Exede, has one-time set-up fee of $149.99 and $9.99/month equipment lease fee, plus the monthly service fees and taxes, which range from $50-$129/month.

The Hughes SPACEWAY 3 was previously the world’s largest traffic-carrying Ka band commercial satellite system, according to Hughes, with 10 Gbps throughput. ECHOSTAR XVII will provide over 100 Gbps.

Lemko’s Distributed Mobility Wireless Network may enable 4G/LTE systems to use a satellite backbone for both military and public safety markets. LTE over satellite is not a general consumer product, but it enables interoperability across networks and devices. Lemko’s distributed mobile wireless network has connected hundreds of 2G and 3G GSM, CDMA, UMTS, and EVDO commercial and tactical networks via satellite.

The move to “High Throughput Satellites” will be key to success in broadband access around the world, says Northern Sky.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; EchoStar XVII Broadband Satellite Launched, Hughes/EchoStar: Broadband Satellite Prepared for Launch, ViaSat Announces Commercial Satellite Operation, FCC Promotes Rural Broadband Solutions, EchoStar XVII Broadband Satellite Launched, ViaSat-1 Passes Test, ViaSat-1 Launched, High Throughput Satellite Goes Live, Dish Talks Up Terrestrial LTE, EchoStar Closes $2B Hughes Deal, ViaSat Buying Wild Blue, New High Capacity Satellites for North America, EchoStar to Buy Hughes, High Throughput Satellite Goes Live, Eutelsat + Russia Grow Satellite Neighborhood, Charlie’s Big Play, TerreStar Successfully Launched , Eutelsat Launches Ka Band Internet Satellite

AT&T Likely to Get 2.3 GHz

The FCC will likely approve AT&T’s plan to use WCS spectrum during the next open meeting scheduled for October 17, 2012, the FCC said today. AT&T wants to offer mobile broadband service on 20MHz of 2.3 GHz spectrum it purchased in August along with spectrum holding company NextWave Wireless.

According to AT&T’s FCC filing, the carrier would acquire between 5 and 30 MHz of WCS spectrum from NextWave Wireless in 476 cellular market areas, achieving a maximum of 30 MHz WCS spectrum. AT&T wants between 10 and 25 MHz of WCS spectrum from Comcast in 149 markets and 10 MHz of WCS spectrum from Horizon Wi-Com in 132 markets. Currently AT&T owns 12 MHz on average of WCS across the country.

Currently there is 30 MHz of WCS spectrum broken into two 5×5 MHz paired channels (the A and B Block) and two 5 MHz unpaired channels (the C and D Block). The C and D Blocks are next to the spectrum used by Sirius XM. Under the proposal from AT&T and Sirius XM, AT&T would not use the C and D Block spectrum for mobile service in exchange for more liberal rules on the A and B Block spectrum, thus allowing AT&T to deploy FDD-LTE service in that band.

In May 2010, the FCC approved initial rules to allow mobile broadband providers to offer services on 25MHz of the adjoining WCS band. That vote opened the door to eventual mobile broadband uses, in addition to fixed wireless services, which had previously been permitted.

When it comes to highly populated areas, Nextwave’s holdings include mainly the A, C and D bands. Looking at a county level data, the table above shows the apparent improvement in AT&T’s spectrum position for the top counties ranked by population. But the C and D bands are being taken away by mutual agreement between AT&T and Sirius/XM. AT&T appears to be buying largely nothing from Nextwave (bands C & D), so they can get access to bands A & B, also acquiring spectrum from Comcast and Horizon.

Frank Rayal explains who owns what in the WCS band. It’s the A & B bands that matter. AT&T has to buy the C & D bands so it can use A & B.

In June, AT&T and Sirius/XM came to an agreement allowing mobile broadband on 2.3 GHz. XM uses satellite repeaters which can be thousands of watts. They would likely drown out the adjoining 2.3 GHz band. The reverse could also be true; a 200 mW WCS radio close to an XM receiver could cause interference. The (5MHz x 2) guard band should make things copacetic.

The Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) is used by Sirius, which uses 12.5 MHz of the S band between 2320 and 2332.5 MHz and XM, which uses 12.5 MHz between 2332.5 to 2345.0 MHz.

XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite radio use different kinds of satellite coverage.

Sirius uses a highly elliptical orbit with three satellite, but only two of them broadcast at any given time. Because they can be seen at a higher angle on the horizon, the need for terrestrial repeaters is lessened.

XM has traditionally used geosynchronous satellites, which result in reception problems in canyons or cities. Consequently, XM developed satellite “repeaters” on rooftops in metropolitan areas, providing improved reception. But the satellite repeaters put out thousands of watts and would swamp nearby WCS basestations.

The new FCC proposal would allow mobile broadband on 20MHz of the total 30MHz in the WCS spectrum, according to Tammy Sun, an FCC spokeswoman.

AT&T thinks it will take around four and a half years to make repurposed 2.3 GHz Wireless Communication Service (WCS) spectrum usable for LTE services. The 2.3 GHz band is often used for 4G (LTE) service in other countries, such as China and India.

In addition, AT&T will need to construct the infrastructure to deliver it.

Meanwhile, Dish’s 2.1 GHz satellite spectrum is on the FCC’s front burner. Dish owns 40 MHz of nationwide MSS satellite spectrum it wants to use terrestrially.

If Dish and Clearwire team up, as some observers believe, then AT&T may want to play in that sandbox, too. Clearwire and China Mobile use the same basic technology, have roaming agreements, and will likely have working handsets from Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and others available by mid 2013. Microcell “hot zones” will deliver the goods.

DISH objects to the proposed shift of their uplinks by 5MHz into the 2005-25MHz band, claiming that a 5MHz buffer is needed between their spectrum and the high end of the band, above 2025MHz, and that a shift would cause serious delays for their network buildout plans.

Sprint has said that a 5 MHz shift would help its LTE operations by freeing up more PCS spectrum for auction. Sprint is currently using the 1900 MHz PCS G Block for its nascent LTE network, which allows it to deploy 5×5 MHz channels. But Sprint would like to get access to the adjacent PCS “H Block”, which would give it the ability to deploy 10×10 MHz channels (1910-1920/1990-2000). Both Verizon and AT&T use 10×10 MHz channels in the 700 MHz band.

Dish applied in late 2011 to the FCC to change the satellite companies’ frequencies to terrestrial broadband using LTE-A. The FCC indicated support for the idea in March, but it has yet to authorize the change.

“Today’s action is part of Chairman Julius Genachowski’s continued efforts to remove regulatory barriers that limit the flexible use of spectrum, which is one way he has led the Commission towards helping address the continued ‘spectrum crunch,” said the FCC in a statement.

Related Dailywireless articles include; AT&T Buys 2.3 GHz from NextWave, AT&T Wants 2.3 GHz for LTE, Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension and Clearwire: On the Hot Zone

Qualcomm Aims for Everything with S4 Processor Family

Qualcomm announced this week two new budget Snapdragon S4 mobile processors: the MSM8225Q with an embedded single-mode UMTS 3G modem and the MSM8625Q with an embedded dual-mode CDMA and UMTS modem.

Both are members of the Snapdragon S4 Play processor tier, optimized for a broad range of smartphone users. Qualcomm recently announced their higher tier, Snapdragon S4 Pro chipset with a quad-core Krait processor and Adreno 320 GPU, designed for tablets.

There are four tiers of Qualcomm processors: Prime, Pro, Plus and Play.

The new Snapdragon S4 Play processors enable entry-level smartphones to have HD video and faster speeds using dual-core and quad-core CPUs, says Qualcomm. Both processors will be ready for customer sampling by end of 2012 and are expected to be shipping in commercial devices in the first quarter of 2013. They use Atheros AR6005 and WCN2243 chips to enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and FM connectivity.

Qualcomm designates their stand alone modem chips (for dongles) as MDM, while their ARM-based CPUs (some with built-in LTE support) are designated as MSM. Qualcomm’s MSM 8960 processor, for example, is the main processor for for LTE-enabled phones and tablets, like the latest Nokia and Motorola smartphones.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 supports all China operators with UMTS, CDMA and TD-SCDMA. This single platform will support both LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA, targeting mid-tier smartphones for use in China. Announced in February 2011, this processor features dual-core CPUs and as the world’s first single-chip solution with an integrated LTE modem. The Snapdragon S4 Plus MSM8930 with LTE-TDD and TD-SCDMA support will be ready for customer sampling by the end of 2012 and is expected to be shipping in commercial devices by the first quarter of 2013.

Qualcomm’s MDM9625 modem supports LTE-A, UMTS and CDMA2000 devices while the MDM9225 supports just LTE-A and UMTS. Those chipsets will begin sampling in Q4 2012 and support 150+ Mbps of LTE Advanced.

Prior to the launch of Snapdragon S4, a LTE phone’s modem and application processor were usually separate chipsets. Typically, the more chips that are involved in building a device, the more power it used.

What’s unique about the Snapdragon S4 processor, particularly the MSM8960, is that the LTE modem baseband and application processor are combined into a single chip.

Qualcomm will add support for Clearwire’s upcoming LTE TDD network to its line of multi-mode LTE chipsets with the inclusion Band 41, Clearwire’s 2.6 GHz frequency band. It builds on Qualcomm’s existing multi-mode, multi-band support for LTE FDD, LTE TDD and major broadband wireless standards

“By working with Qualcomm, Clearwire will ensure that LTE TDD and LTE FDD will work seamlessly together. This will bring significant benefits to OEMs, network operators and consumers alike,” said Erik Prusch, president and CEO, Clearwire. It is scheduled for commercial availability later this year.

The single-core MSM8930 was the world’s first single-chip solution with an integrated LTE modem designed to take LTE to mass market smartphones. It will include the new Adreno 305 GPU which delivers more than six times the performance of the original Adreno.

The dual-core MSM8960 was the world’s first dual-core solution with an integrated multi-mode 3G/LTE modem and was designed to meet the requirements of multi-tasking smartphones and tablets and will feature the Adreno 225 GPU which delivers eight times the performance of the original Adreno.

The quad-core APQ8064 will be designed to meet the performance requirements of the next generation of computing and entertainment devices for the home.