Light Reading
Dish's Charlie Ergen gives the company's LTE plans an 80% chance of success, but warns that the FCC's finger is on the 'self-destruct button'

FCC Could Blow Up Dish's LTE Plan

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
2/23/2012
50%
50%

Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen likes his chances of turning the company's Long Term Evolution (LTE) plan into a successful business, but warns that the fate of it rests in the hands of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the agency decides whether to grant Dish an all-important waiver for its wireless spectrum.

Ergen, speaking on Thursday's earnings call, said Dish is eager to build an LTE network on its own or with partners, but said it would have to look at all other options, including a sale of that spectrum, if the FCC doesn't award the waiver or delays it by putting the matter through a formal rulemaking process. The FCC's self-imposed 180-day window on the decision closes on March 12, he added.

Dish wants to build an LTE network based on spectrum it's in line to acquire via its acquisitions of TerreStar Networks and DBSD North America Inc., but needs a waiver that would relieve a requirement that the spectrum is used on phones that support both land and satellite connections. (See Charlie Ergen's Spectrum Grab Dish Sizing Up Mobile Broadband Service , Dish's LTE Dreams Inch Toward Reality and Dish: This Year's LightSquared?)

The next couple of weeks will determine "whether we are in or out," said Ergen, who's known for his prowess at the poker table. "You have to be in the game, and we're not in the game right now."

And the waiver could prove vital to Dish's long-term vision as its core video service struggles to grow. The company believes a mobile broadband play will let it create a package of voice, video and data products that customers can use at home or on the go. (See Dish Subs Back in Black, But for How Long? )

Wireless is a "key, even transformative, strategy for us," Ergen said, giving Dish's new broadband wireless plan an "80 percent chance of being successful." But the FCC's finger is on the "self-destruct button," he added, comparing the situation to when Dish's satellite TV dreams rested on the successful launch of a Chinese-made rocket in the mid-1990s. "The waiver is a lot like that Chinese rocket," he said.

Ergen added that Dish needs that waiver as soon as possible because it will need lead time to develop products that can use the spectrum. But it's in a holding pattern until the FCC acts.

And he's confident that Dish's plan meets the public interest for a waiver, painting his company as a "disruptive" force against the dominance of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , which recently struck service bundling and spectrum deals with four major U.S. cable operators.

Ergen remains hopeful that the FCC will grant the waiver, holding that the spectrum it intends to use has "very little interference issues," and avoid what has stymied LightSquared 's plans. (See FCC Moves to Block LightSquared .)

But he joked about his poor track record with the feds. "I'd go broke betting on Washington. I'm about 0 for 100 in Washington," he said. Ergen then reflected for a moment and said the situation reminded him of a line in Dumb and Dumber. "I think there's a chance."

Okay, it wasn't a spot-on recital of the line, but here's the scene Ergen was summoning:



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Flook
50%
50%
Flook,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:41:36 PM
re: FCC Could Blow Up Dish's LTE Plan


Interesting that Dish wants waiver from the requirement that phones support both LTE and satellie network. Lightsquared's integrated network is intended to do just that. So what's interesting is that if after FCC put the brakes on the Lightsquared network (citing interference with some GPS devices), FCC grants Dish the waiver.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:41:34 PM
re: FCC Could Blow Up Dish's LTE Plan


yeah, Lightsquared will flip out if Dish gets it and they don't, though there's no indication that Dish has the GPS interference issues that has caused so much trouble for Lightsquared.   But looks like Charlie's more worried about the spectre of a notice of proposed rulemaking from the FCC that would slow things down. JB

joanengebretson
50%
50%
joanengebretson,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:41:32 PM
re: FCC Could Blow Up Dish's LTE Plan


My understanding is that the Dish spectrum was earmarked up front to support both terrestrial and satellite service. Dish is just trying to ditch the satellite requirement.


LightSquared's spectrum, on the other hand, was originally earmarked only for satellite use.


So I don't see it as a big issue if the FCC gives Dish a pass on the satellite component.

opticalwatcher
50%
50%
opticalwatcher,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:41:30 PM
re: FCC Could Blow Up Dish's LTE Plan


The Dish spectrum is right next to Sprint's. Both are terrestrial, so the strong terrestrial signal swamping out a very weak satellite signal issue that occurs with GPS doesn't apply. Nevertheless, Sprint sued to prevent Dish from getting this spectrum. They settled the lawsuit.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
LRTV Documentaries
The Rise of Virtual CPE

1|27|15   |   01:38   |   (5) comments


As NFV strategies evolve from tests and trials to production telco networks, expect to hear a lot about virtual CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts during 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
Optical Is Hot in 2015

1|23|15   |   01:56   |   (2) comments


Optical comms technology underpins the whole communications sector and there are some really hot trends set for 2015.
LRTV Custom TV
Policy Control in the Fast Lane

1|22|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


What's making policy control strategic in 2015 and beyond? Amdocs talks with Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie about the key factors driving change in the data services landscape. Find out what his policy management research reveals about the road ahead for policy control – and sign up for
LRTV Documentaries
Highlights From the 2020 Vision Executive Summit

1|21|15   |   4:33   |   (2) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading brought together telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Cisco's Doug Webster shared his company's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Harmonic, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment with Huawei

1|20|15   |   5:42   |   (1) comment


At IBC, Peter Alexander, Senior Vice President & CMO at Harmonic, speaks about the growing interest in pay-TV service and its branching into multiple devices.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sony Marketing Director Olivier Bovis Discusses the Outlook for 4K and Cooperation With Huawei at IBC 2014

1|20|15   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Pay-TV Partner Envivio, Helping Carriers Accelerate 4K Video Deployment

1|20|15   |   2:57   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Olivier Bovis, Marketing Director of Sony, speaks about the coming of the 4K era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Pay-TV's Networked Future

1|20|15   |   6:29   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about the future of the pay-TV industry and its transition.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Jeff Heynen: Distributed Access Will Help MSOs Compete in the Future

1|20|15   |   2:26   |   (0) comments


At IBC, Jeff Heynen, Principal Analyst at Infonetics, speaks about moving to distributed access and the future trend of cable business.
LRTV Interviews
Cisco Talks Transformation

1|20|15   |   13:02   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Cisco VP of Products & Solutions Marketing Doug Webster at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Cisco's approach to network virtualization as well as how service providers can begin to monetize high-capacity networks through the end of the decade.
Upcoming Live Events
February 5, 2015, Washington, DC
February 19, 2015, The Fairmont San Jose, San Jose, CA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 9-10, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2-3, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
Infographics
Hot Topics
Google Continues Gigabit Expansion
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 1/27/2015
Comcast Apologizes to 'A**hole' Brown
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/29/2015
US Ops Spend $32.5M to Bring 4G to Chicago's Subways
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 1/30/2015
Cablevision's New WiFi Try – Freewheeling Enough?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 1/26/2015
Overture Builds on NFV Foundation
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 1/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Weekly Executive Interview
Join us live for Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he has to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.