Spectrum Dealings

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Stifel Nicolaus analysts offered a further look at the FCC‘s recent AWS-4 order that granted DISH use of satellite mobile service spectrum for terrestrial service. The agency imposed strict signal limits on DISH’s planned terrestrial wireless network in its 40 MHz of mobile satellite service spectrum after concluding they were needed to protect the nearby H block and wouldn’t materially degrade DISH’s offering. The Commission acknowledged the restrictions would limit DISH wireless operations at 2000-2005 MHz, but noted DISH would still have 15 MHz of uplink spectrum paired with 20 MHz of downlink spectrum, and it suggested there might be "no impact on actual network capacity," the analysts said. Although DISH could challenge the FCC order in court, the analysts predicted it would face "a steep uphill fight," and protracted litigation would run counter to DISH’s desire for regulatory certainty. The company appears interested in partnering with another mobile carrier on mobile broadband but could also consider combining with DirecTV or selling the spectrum, the analysts said.

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