Sprint and Dish will test 2.5 GHz fixed broadband in Texas next year. The Corpus Christi test will provide broadband for customer’s home or business, competing with landline Internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast.
Earlier Dish, which has 14 million satellite TV subscribers, tried unsuccessfully to outbid SoftBank for control of both Clearwire and Sprint, the third-largest U.S. mobile-phone company.
Dish will install either a ruggedized outdoor router or an indoor solution. Both solutions will feature built-in high-gain antennas to receive the 4G TDD-LTE signal on Sprint’s 2.5 GHz spectrum.
Dish is also working with nTelos in Virginia using the same 2.5 GHz spectrum. Both trials use Clearwire’s TD-LTE spectrum.
Sprint’s Spark network unites the 800, 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz bands. Using 8×8 Mimo antennas, Sprint can deliver real speed and capacity at 2.5 GHz.
Sprint has rolled out 4G LTE to 70 more cities, bringing the total number to 300 LTE markets. By mid-2014, Sprint aims to cover 250 million Americans with 4G LTE. By the end of 2014, it expects 100 million people will have Sprint Spark, utilizing 2.5GHz
“With millions underserved by inadequate broadband, the potential to bring a high-speed fixed wireless solution is very compelling to both DISH and Sprint,” said Tom Cullen, DISH executive vice president of Corporate Development.
Both AT&T (with copper-based Uverse) and Verizon (with fiber-based FiOS), say they are becoming less essential to their long-term business plans. Verizon has 5 million subs on its FiOS network compared to 36 million subs on its wireless LTE network.
Still unknown is what Dish will do with their 40 MHz of MSS spectrum, adjacent to Sprint’s 1.9 GHz “G block”.
Dish has plenty of options. They might provide small cell mobile service via their own 2.1 GHz PCS spectrum and use 2.6 for backhaul or use their downstream 700 MHz 6 GHz channel for mobile video. Conceivably, they could also use the 2.5 GHz band to transmit streaming video using LTE Broadcast.
Dish is in the television business. It knows about video rights. It also has 14 million rooftop antennas. By comparison, the cellular duopoly was built using 40,000 macrocells that can cost north of $400,000.
Dish benefits from the economy of lots of little cells. The tipping point is now.
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