Dish Taps Sprint for 4G Trial in Texas

Dish revealed Tuesday that it plans to use Sprint's 4G spectrum to try out a fixed broadband service deep in the heart of Texas next year.

Sprint and Dish "plan to jointly develop and deploy a fixed wireless broadband service, on a trial basis, in Corpus Christi, TX that will be available in the middle of 2014," the pair said in a press release. "The service will initially be available in limited areas of Corpus Christi with a plan to expand into additional markets in the future."

Depending on location, Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) will install either a "ruggedized outdoor router" or an indoor system to beam broadband to the site. The service will use the Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) 2.5GHz spectrum for Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) 4G service, sometimes called TD-LTE too. (See: Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

Sprint said the service, which uses technology originally deployed by Clearwire, offers downloads of 50-60 Mbit/s at the moment. It can boost that download speed up to 2 Gbit/s over time through its Spark network overlay program.

Why this matters
Dish has its own spectrum that it could use for a fixed wireless service. The trial with Sprint, in which Dish was trying to grab a stake just a few months ago, suggests that it is easier for the operator to use someone else's network than build one on its own right now. Dish has a similar mobile broadband deal in place with the regional operator Ntelos Inc. (Nasdaq: NTLO)

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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DanJones 12/18/2013 | 11:52:08 AM
Re: Dish's spectrum It's more like a game of riskin the ongoing LightSquared tussle!
albreznick 12/17/2013 | 10:48:12 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum Never doubt one thing: Charlie Ergen is always playing poker with somebody. The confounding question always is: With whom? He must have one or more end-games in mind. We just won't know what that is for years probably.   
DanJones 12/17/2013 | 9:57:08 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum Maybe!

I thought they had some spectrum across different frequencies though, which band you talking about?
tb100 12/17/2013 | 7:47:44 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum I wonder if Sprint's new Network Vision/Spark cell basestations can be programmed to use Dish's frequencies.  I think some of them are right next to Sprint's frequency bands.

Certainly Ergen has always realized the possibilities of synergy with Sprint, but he has always taken that to mean he that he should battle to buy them out or fight with them rather than work with them. It is certainly interesting if he decides to actually work with them.
DanJones 12/17/2013 | 4:22:14 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum Certainly fixed TD-LTE services could make sense as a DSL alternative.
mjgraves 12/17/2013 | 4:12:51 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum The Dish involvement is certainly confusing, but Sprint has a history in this area. Sprint had a fixed wireless offer here in Houston in 2002-4. It was compeitive with DSL at the time. We're sorely in need of another option, so I'd welcome their return to the market.

As for Dish's spectrum holdings, that seems like a bargaining chip for later use when others find themselves in more dire need.
DanJones 12/17/2013 | 1:07:23 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum I don't see the point of doing a pure fixed LTE network, the FCC has said it can use some of that spectrum for cellular services anyway.

If Ergen is *really* going to build out a wireless network why hasn't Dish started already? They'll need billions and years to get it running but need 4G now. Ergen seems to keep looking for other ways to make that happen -- LightSquared, Clearwire, Sprint bids -- rather than building a damn network.

Suggests to me that the spectrum collection is there for some other reason....
Sarah Thomas 12/17/2013 | 12:57:47 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum Don't think it'll build its own fixed LTE? That seems like the most logical use of it, if it plans to use it at all. But your theory that it doesn't actually may be the most likely.
DanJones 12/17/2013 | 12:54:14 PM
Re: Dish's spectrum I would guess that it will end up getting sold off or used as a sweetner in any future merger deal with a wireless operator.
Sarah Thomas 12/17/2013 | 12:47:50 PM
Dish's spectrum Dish is sitting on so much spectrum. What's the end game? Do you think it's really waiting to build out its own LTE network, which it says it cannot do until 2016 anyway? 
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