FCC denies waiver approval for Dish

05 March 2012 | Kavit Majithia

Dish Network, the US satellite provider, has been denied a waiver by US regulator FCC to use its wireless spectrum and construct a new wireless network.

The company, which has been rumoured to be on AT&T’s radar as a possible acquisition target had hoped to secure a waiver from the US regulator by the end of the month to support the construction of a new ground-based mobile network. Dish must now seek formal deliberation for the project and approval could take until the end of the year.

Dish acquired its spectrum licences from satellite operators DBSD and TerreStar Networks last year, investing $2.8 billion.

Sources close to Dish said the company will continue to work with the FCC until the situation is resolved. Its overall aim is to package mobile wireless services with its established pay-TV offering to compete with the larger cable operators and mobile companies.

It is widely expected the FCC will eventually approve the network, but the commission has had to tread carefully after coming under scrutiny by issuing a waiver for a new wireless network from start-up LightSquared – which eventually failed because of objections from the US Defense Department.

Dish seeks to avoid such issues, considering its network is unlikely to interfere with Global Positioning System devices. However, larger telcos in the US could take further issue with using wireless spectrum through satellite, and have recently stated Dish’s plans could interfere with other wireless services.