Weeks after withdrawing a $2.2 billion bid to buy bankrupt LightSquared and its 4G spectrum, Charlie Ergen is about to win a government auction for the so-called H Block of spectrum, reports The NY Post.
The $1.56 billion acquisition is expected to be announced this week, says the NY Post. It will make Ergen’s Dish Networks the fifth-biggest spectrum owner.
The H Block is a 10 MHz block of paired airwaves that runs from 1915-1920 MHz (for the uplink) and from 1995-2000 MHz (for the downlink). Dish controls spectrum adjacent to a portion of the H Block, called AWS-4. The spectrum also adjoins Sprints FD-LTE service, which also uses 5MHz x 2, in the PCS “G” block.
The H Block auction started Jan. 22 and has lasted more than 120 rounds. It currently is at $1.54 Billion. Dish has pledged to bid, at minimum, $1.56 billion, or $0.50/MHz-POP, for the entire auction of the 176 licenses up for auction.
Apparently Dish now has 10 MHz near 2GHz and 40 MHz of MSS spectrum adjacent to it. Dish also owns a 5 GHz swath on the 700 MHz band. That totals 55 MHz.
It is not known if Ergen’s Dish will use the spectrum to compete against Verizon and other wireless carriers or lease it to another company, perhaps Google, which may be looking to get into the wireless business.
Now all Dish needs is a nationwide tower infrastructure and the expertise to run a wireless network.
Since T-Mobile has the largest AWS network in the United States, they might be an obvious partner for Dish. Sprint already has an abundance of spectrum (at 2.6 GHz).
AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile for $39 Billion. Perhaps Google, Apple or Amazon could be a better partner with Dish. Together they could deliver a multi-media powerhouse (with streaming rights).