T-Mobile takes aim at Dish, wants it blocked from rebidding on defaulted AWS-3 licenses


T-Mobile and Dish have been linked as possible merger partners in the past, but right now T-Mo is going after Dish as a result of the company’s actions in the recent AWS-3 auction.

T-Mobile has filed a letter to the FCC explaining that Dish and its designated entity partners should be barred from bidding on AWS-3 licenses that the Dish DEs previously gave up. Those DEs forfeited around a third of the spectrum licenses that it won in the recent AWS-3 auction after the FCC denied giving the DEs a 24 percent small business credit, citing the fact that they’re basically owned by Dish. Those licenses mostly cover New York City, Chicago, and Boston.

Kathleen O’Brien Ham, T-Mo’s SVP of government affairs, tells the FCC that Dish deprived other bidders of acquiring AWS-3 licenses that would’ve been put to use right away. Dish has yet to serve a single wireless customer, Ham says, and allowing Dish or its DEs to bid on licenses that they gave up would be unfair to the other bidders and would “effectively give [Dish] an extension of time to meet the build-out requirements for the defaulted licenses.”

T-Mobile also wants Dish and its DEs to be labeled as “former defaulters,” a move that’d require them to make a 50 percent larger upfront payment if they want to participate in next year’s 600MHz auction.

Dish hasn’t commented on T-Mobile’s letter to the FCC, but you have to imagine that it’s not enthused. Preventing Dish and its DEs from re-bidding on AWS-3 licenses would eliminate some of the competition, giving T-Mo a better chance to grab some. The same could apply to next year’s 600MHz auction. Making Dish pony up a 50 percent larger upfront payment could dissuade it from participating. T-Mobile has said that it has big plans for the 600MHz auction that include buying licenses for parts of the US that aren’t covered by 700MHz licenses, as well as major metro areas that could use a coverage boost.

Via: FierceWireless
Source: FCC (PDF)

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  • Since Dish defaulted, I’d think that it forfeited the lots it won and they should obviously go to the 2nd best bidders. At least if the FCC were more interested in the good of we the people than in its own self interest.

    • Adrayven

      True, but Dish was looking to use it’s subsidiaries and partners to re-purchase to -extend – their hold on the spectrum..

      Kind of like paying people to stand in line to buy multiple rare/new products that you’re technically only supposed to get ‘1’ per customer..

      That kind of ploy..

      • yankeesusa

        Great example.

  • Jason

    Well if Dish did it, then they must be punished. Some Channels in HD, some of the time, but when? Who knows. Dish should be absorbed by someone who will compete with DirecTV. Why anyone gets Dish makes no sense. Especially when DirecTV offers so much more HD content ALL the time.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      Direct TV is apart of att now

    • sgtguthrie

      I actually switched from Directv to Dish, and the only thing I miss at all is their overpriced Sunday Ticket. In every other aspect, I find dish better. That includes technology. The Hopper, super joeys, and joeys are amazing.

      • Mike Palomba

        I don’t know what dish has but directv has RF remotes which are awesome, the Genie DVR, wireless Genies (complete wireless set top boxes), and a ton of Hd channels without their own special hd Channel number.

  • JaswinderSinghJammu

    I thought tmobile was looking to Dish as cashcow.

    • Sushimane

      Dish doesn’t have cash but they have a crap load of spectrum second to sprint if I’m correct.

      • SumYungGai

        Fifth after Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile. Still a crap load though.

      • Trevnerdio

        Spectrum ~ cash, more or less.

    • Adrayven

      Dish is heavily leveraged in debt. They have ‘assets’ that make them worth a lot, they just keep borrowing.. Not exactly what I’d call an encouraging prospect.

  • Alex Hutchins

    Kinda unrelated, but I wonder if T-Mobile will try to get 600 MHz for Wyoming, Iowa, Montana, north Dakota, and Nebraska.

    • Jay J. Blanco

      Of course they are aiming for nationwide low bans with 600mhz

      • Moby

        This is not true. They are not seeking to buy nationwide:

        “At the event, Carter talked a bit about T-Mobile’s plan of attack for the auction, saying that T-Mo intends on buying 600MHz licenses that’ll cover the parts of the US that aren’t already under its 700MHz network coverage. T-Mobile also plans to pick up some 600MHz coverage in major metro areas to help bolster any existing 700MHz coverage it might have in those areas.

        Carter thinks that this won’t cost T-Mobile more than $1 billion or $1.5 billion,”

        • Jay J. Blanco

          “Carter talked a bit about T-Mobile’s plan of attack for the auction, saying that T-Mo intends on buying 600MHz licenses that’ll cover the parts of the US that aren’t already under its 700MHz network coverage. T-Mobile also plans to pick up some 600MHz coverage in major metro areas to help bolster any existing 700MHz coverage it might have in those areas.

          Carter thinks that this won’t cost T-Mobile more than $1 billion or $1.5 billion, but he added that they could have up to $10 billion to spend if necessary.”

          Which means they will have nationwide 600mhz because that’s what they will need to build a national network that’s economical possible

        • PC_Tool

          They’ll be using 600Mhz to bring low-band coverage to areas currently without 700mhz.

          The only exception to this would be where they may add 600Mhz deployments to dense metro areas already covered by 700Mhz, but at risk for congestion.

        • Moby

          I read the same quote and don’t see anything where it indicates they’ll have nationwide 600. “buying 600MHz licenses that’ll cover the parts of the US that aren’t already under its 700MHz network coverage” suggests that there will be areas where they won’t buy 600.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          Obviously you comprehended it wrong, they are going to need nationwide 600mhz to compete. Espically with the growth the are seeing. If tmobile wants to make a profit they are going to need profitable customers. AT&T and Verizon main customer base will never switch over.

        • Moby

          I comprehended everything just fine. It’s your opinion that they need nationwide 600 to compete. But they’ve never stated that. And $1 billion to $1.5 billion that they’re looking to spend isn’t enough to buy nationwide 600 based on the last auction.

          As for people switching. You should check their quarterly reports. They’re getting millions of people to switch over every quarter. Saying that AT&T and Verizon customers won’t switch has been proven wrong.

        • Jay J. Blanco

          As it states above the will have up to 10 billion put aside. Which they will need. Tmobile won’t be tooken seriously by high credit class customers until the get nationwide reliable coverage. This 600mhz auction is they last chance for the near future to survive. Even you know that.

        • Durandal_1707


          Anyway, T-Mobile doesn’t need nationwide 600 to compete. They need nationwide low-band, but that includes both 600 and 700. In fact, I’d say that 700 is *better* than 600 for the purpose of competitiveness, since a) the hardware already exists to deploy coverage on it, and b) there are phones already out there that support it. Where 600 is needed is in the places where they don’t have 700 already, and in places with high population density. The Dakotas are neither of these things; there are areas in western ND and northern SD that don’t have 700, and they’ll probably want 600 there, but the rest of the two states are probably fine with the 700 spectrum that they already have (and which, reportedly, they’ve already started deploying in Sioux Falls and Fargo).

        • Jay J. Blanco

          You just regurgitated what I said days ago. Tmobile holds less sub 1ghz spectrum then every other major carrier. The 700mhz they are getting is great but it’s scraps 5mhz. They need LTE-A to even make it stable. 600mhz will allow them to have 10 maybe 15mhz of lowband. It’s still areas they can’t deploy 700mhz.

        • Durandal_1707

          T-Mobile seems to think the 700 MHz spectrum they have is good enough to cover rural areas, since they’ve stated that they’re going for 600 in areas where they don’t have 700, *not* for a nationwide license (nice as that would be).

    • Defcon_Foxtrot

      I hope so

  • Fabian Cortez

    Well there goes their chances at leasing and/or acquiring their spectrum.

    Then again, Dish probably wants too much money.

  • Mike

    Dish should be banned from the auction since they never used the spectrum they purchased in the past.

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  • vinnyjr

    T-Mobile wants to buy as much low band as they can get. This time next year T-Mobile will have a killer Network. No Carrier is updating their LTE Network like T-Mobile is. No Carrier is spending as much money on their Network like T-Mobile is. Keep up the Great Work.

    • steveb944

      Verizon is soon going to start working on 5G. They’ll be first out of the gate again.

      • frankinnoho

        Really. Soon to start… hmmm… You realize, of course, the scope for 5G hasn’t even been finalized, let alone hardware designed… seems a bit early.

        • PC_Tool

          It’s funny that you think that matters after what happened with 4G and LTE-A.

        • frankinnoho

          Irrelevant. At this point, there is nothing for Verizon to start working on. They can only make vague and general comments.

        • PC_Tool

          5G will most likely be defined post-hoc, by the carriers – just like 4G.

          One cannot even begin to guess when it may be deployed or worked on, because no-one knows what “it” is until the marketing starts.

          Claims of “too early” or even “soon” are equally absurd. Neither of you has a clue what 5G is. (But hey, if it’s any consolation, neither do I!)

        • steveb944

          I never claimed I did.

          Verizon sets roadmap to 5G technology in U.S.; Field trials to start in 2016 | Verizon News – http://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-sets-roadmap-5g-technology-us-field-trials-start-2016

        • steveb944

          Verizon sets roadmap to 5G technology in U.S.; Field trials to start in 2016 | Verizon News – http://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-sets-roadmap-5g-technology-us-field-trials-start-2016

      • Paul

        “5G” means 5th generation.

        “LTE” means Long-Term Evolution.

        While upgrading a network to a new generation is great, it will take a long while for them to upgrade the hardware and software. Being first isn’t always the best. Because T-Mobile upgraded their network later they have the newest hardware and software for 4G LTE networking. It may not have been the best to hold out for so long, but it has benefited with technology.

      • Acdc1a

        Metro PCS was the first US carrier to launch LTE. Try again.

        • steveb944

          I can’t recall that. But Verizon was the first MAJOR US carrier to launch LTE.

        • Jus10HOU

          And Verizon still has huge gaping holes in their LTE coverage. If it rains in Houston, you fall back on 3G. Was with Verizon for 11 years, switched to T-Mobile this year and have been blown away at their performance!

      • Chris Carson
  • David

    Dish would be banned. Instead of putting spectrum to use for the benefit of general public, disgusting companies like dish are simply holding on to them and trying to profit from it as spectrum price increases. This is a little different from flipping house.

  • SirStephenH

    I really hate the idea of a patchwork lowband network.

  • yankeesusa

    So dish is like a kid holding on to something that they may or may not use in the future but that no else can have and benefit from. Great. The fcc should agree, not to help tmobile but to help get this spectrum into use and allow for better product for the consumer.

    • Paul


    • BobbieDooley

      Well, dish voluntarily gave it up, and wasn’t pushed into bankruptcy like many, many other companies before it.

      Most likely, Dish needs to reorg, and then spin off the terrestrial wireless company into a separate company and stock so it can better manage its assets and existing businesses.

      Prior to this, Dish combined all its assets to it could persue a merger of equals with T-Mobile. After all, it was T-Mobile that walked away from DishNetwork, and that decision was only a few months ago. Building a network infrastructure to support spectrum or airwaves isn’t as easy as snapping fingers together.

      Besides, with 5G standards being created, it makes no sense to launch a LTE network. :)

      • Gavriel Ostrow

        would we need new tech for 5G? b/c that would really suck.

  • BobbieDooley

    I think it’s funny that a corporation which is partially owned by the German Government (which has the ability to PRINT MONEY) couldn’t bid higher than Dish. I suppose T-Mobile has a right to be angry. Might as well blame their failure to raise money on Dish.

    Still, and in the interest of competition, I think it’s probably very normal that this former european monopoly telecommunications company would desire a ban in free markets.

    • fentonr


    • zzzz

      wow your full of shit.

    • Aaron C

      It’s from Bobbie Dooley. What do you expect…

      Time to call Harvey Wireman to straighten this all out.

    • lynyrd65

      Sorry Charlie, lol.

  • Isaiah Davenport

    I think the FCC should personally not allow Dish Network and or Dish Networks subsidiary companies to acquire any more spectrum until they put to use the spectrum they already have. Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and regional carriers could put that spectrum to use asap as where Dish Network still has no viable option to use any spectrum they have now or any spectrum they obtain in the future.

    • hmmmm

      dish is AT&T – they would definitely benefit

  • Jay Holm

    Umm….is it supposed to be obvious what “DE” stands for or something?