First Clearwire then LightSquared and now Dish Network, it seems that everyone is jumping on the LTE bandwagon. Dish Network submitted a proposal to the FCC yesterday, asking for a waiver which would allow them to combine the spectra acquired when Dish purchased TerreStar Networks and DBSD North America earlier this year, in order build a 4G-LTE network of their own. The FCC granted a similar waiver to LightSquared, which allowed them to build out their network with the intention of expanding mobile broadband across the nation.
In March 2010, the FCC unveiled the National Broadband Plan, the goal of which is to provide all Americans with fast affordable Internet. In their proposal to the FCC, Dish promised to bring mobile and fixed broadband service to the areas that lack the Internet speed that most of us take for granted, rural America. If given the green light, Dish agreed to to adhere to a build-out schedule for the new network.
Unlike Lightsquared which plans to offer mobile Internet wholesale, Dish Network plans to offer service directly to subscribers, through a newly created subsidiary called Gamma. Also unlike Lightsquared the spectra that Dish intends to use is not adjacent to the GPS band and will not cause any interference. Recently Lightsquared’s network has been under fire as there have been reports that their network interferes with GPS devices.
Acquiring FCC approval is the first step of many that is required when building a network. According to Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst for Credit Suisse, Dish Network is best off partnering with an existing carrier and building up with them. It could be years before Dish Network is offering service to consumers and is viewed as a serious competitor to incumbent mobile carriers.