Dish is asking the FCC to set a new buildout deadline on its 700 MHz spectrum that would require the company to cover 40 percent of the population covered by its licenses by 2017 and 70 percent by 2021.
Dish paid around $712 million for 168 licenses across the country in the E Block during the FCC’s 700 MHz spectrum auction in 2008. Qualcomm bought most of the licenses for the adjoining D Block. Qualcomm later sold their spectrum to AT&T, who plan to use it for additional LTE download capacity.
Dish has held onto their 6 MHz slice in the E Block. The company has tested a number of mobile TV services in the E Block, but has not deployed any (yet).
Earlier, Dish bought two bankrupt satellite phone companies (ICO and Terrestar), and plans to repurpose their satellite frequencies for nationwide LTE service. That proposal, using their recently acquired MSS band, would utilize 2180-2200 MHZ for the downlink, while the 700 MHz band, if used as an uplink, would give Dish the opportunity to offer the other segment (2000-2020 MHz) as supplementary downlink, say industry observers.
The FCC has said that it could also be ready to auction the H Block, adjoining Dish’s AWS spectrum, as soon as January 2014. But Dish says it doesn’t plan on bidding for H-Block frequencies.
The FCC will auction the H Block on Jan. 14, with Sprint seen as the lead bidder. It would add to Sprints FD-LTE service in the PCS G band, for a total of 20 MHz, comparable to AT&T and Verizon’s LTE bandwidth at 700 MHz. Dubbed Auction 96, it will have a reserve price of $1.56 billion, based on a minimum spectrum value of $0.50/MHz-pop.
The E Block in the 700 MHz band, like the adjoining D Block in the lower 700 MHz band, are single channel 6 MHz bands. They were originally designed for mobile television broadcasting, using technologies like Qualcomm’s MediaFLO. It was supposed to be the next big thing, but MediaFLO’s mobile tv system required a tuner in the cellphone and a single, powerful TV transmitter to provide regional coverage.
Dish now says it is willing to reduce the maximum power output of its planned E Block network in order to prevent interference with operations in adjacent spectrum bands (owned by AT&T). Fierce Wireless says that Dish’s proposal to lower their power levels could have played a part in AT&T’s support of interoperability in Band Class 12 (which uses the A Block).
If Dish lowers its power in the 700 MHz band, it would like to deploy LTE in their 700 MHz spectrum in conjunction with their AWS-4 holdings (at 2100 MHz).
I suppose another possibility is to use 700 MHz for neighborhood LTE Broadcast. Their 14 million rooftop satellite TV antennas would create an impressive small cell or mobile TV network. Some 915 million LTE global subscribers are forecast by 2016, eclipsing one billion in 2017.
Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016, according to Cisco with Internet video increasing fivefold by 2017.
Related Dailywireless articles include; AT&T Agrees to 700 MHz Interoperability, Sprint Shareholders Approve Softbank Deal, Dish Makes $25.5 billion Bid for Sprint, Dish Demos Rooftop LTE, Battle for Clearwire, Sprint to Buy Clearwire, Clearwire Board Backs Dish, DISH Proposes to Buy Clearwire, Verizon Buying Nationwide AWS Spectrum from Cable , FCC to Okay Verizon/Cable Spectrum Buy, T-Mobile Gets AWS Spectrum from Breakup, 300 MHz Expected from Refarming and TV Spectrum, AT&T Wants 2.3 GHz for LTE and T-Mobile USA Upgrades to LTE, Cable MSO’s Create “CableWiFi” Network, Time Warner Cable Beams Muni WiFi