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

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

Leave a Reply