Dish and Sprint Battle over PCS band Extension

In the new filing with the FCC, Dish says that Sprint is minimizing the impact of a 5 MHz shift on their 40 MHz for 2.1 GHz spectrum, and that a shift would require new standard-setting work. Earlier this year the FCC voted to explore how the S-band of MSS spectrum, which the FCC has renamed “AWS-4,” should be designed so that the satellite spectrum, currently owned by Dish Networks, can be re-purposed for terrestrial use, reports Fierce Wireless.

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 said that the FCC’s ability to “auction the H Block is constrained by a number of technical and operational issues. Sprint’s suggestion that the H Block is ready for immediate wireless broadband use grossly simplifies those challenges and is contrary to the concerns of numerous stakeholders in this proceeding.”

Some of these issues may get hashed out next week at the PCIA conference in Orlando, Fla., where both Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will give keynote addresses. Some speculate that Dish will announce a partnership with an existing wireless player, perhaps Clearwire, which some analysts think may have received a one-time $396 million investment from Dish.

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.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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