Ergen's Latest Gambit: $2B for LightSquared?
The latest strange and audacious wireless gambit by DISH Networks LLC CEO Charlie Ergen is rumored to involve a US$2 billion bid for spectrum from bankrupt would-be 4G operator LightSquared.
Bloomberg quotes sources as saying that Ergen has offered $2 billion for LightSquared spectrum. The move is described as a "stalking horse" bid that would leave the way open for others to bid on the bandwidth.
The question is: Why would any other operator make a bid? LightSquared has slowly fizzled out since the FCC blocked it from using L-Band spectrum in February 2012 because it found that its proposed hybrid terrestrial and satellite LTE network would interfere with GPS services. (See LightSquared: The Company That Won't Die.)
Dish is no stranger to plans for hybrid services. It has considered combo handsets for a service on the Mobile-Satellite Services (MSS) band in the U.S. (See Dish Chairman Ready to Back Up Wireless Bet.)
Dish also reportedly picked up $350 million of LightSquared's debt in May 2012. If the rumors prove to be true here, however, it's not yet clear what the eventual game-plan for Dish would be. (See Dish Snaps Up Some LightSquared Debt.)
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile