Dish Network shells out $1.56 billion at FCC wireless bandwidth auction

Dish Network recently won the bidding for wireless broadband frequencies in all 176 U.S. markets auctioned by the FCC. Dish bid exactly the $1.56 billion it promised the FCC that it would spend in exchange for more flexibility in how it uses other wireless broadband frequencies. While the FCC will be deploying the raised money for the licenses to fund a nationwide wireless communications network for emergency responders, Dish gets another 10 megahertz of spectrum, taking its total spectrum holding to 56 megahertz. 

The first round of FCC wireless bandwidth auctions has concluded, with the Dish Network purchasing all of the 1,900MHz license nearly uncontested. With nearly no competition, Dish shelled out $1.6 billion for the acquisition under the cover of a shell company, as expected. Dish is attempting to expand its empire into becoming a wireless carrier. The company notably failed toacquire Sprint in the face of competition from Softbank, later losing out on Clearwire and withdrawing a $2.2 billion bid for LightSquared and its L-band satellite spectrum. Over the next two years, the FCC is expected to hold auctions for 50MHz of AWS-3 spectrum, as well as forbroadcast TV spectrum in mid-2015. Including these auctions and other sales, the four major carriers and Dish are expected to spend somewhere in the region of $46 billion in spectrum over the next 24 months.

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