Dish Network owns 40 MHz worth of spectrum that they want to use to launch an LTE-Advanced network. Before they can do that though, they need to get permission from the government to use that spectrum for terrestrial use. That should happen by the end of this year. They also need to wait for the 3GPP, the guys responsible for many of the wireless standards that today’s wireless networks use, to figure out how to make LTE-Advanced work in what’s called the “S-band”, which is basically the 2 GHz band. That step is expected to take a few years. Dish is cool with that though, they have no plans on launching this network until at least 2016.
Fast forward four years and pretend Dish just turned on America’s fastest wireless network. You need devices to enjoy all that bandwidth, right? According to FierceWireless, Dish signed an agreement with Qualcomm to make that happen. Again, we can’t stress this enough, today’s news isn’t going to have an impact on your for at least another few years, and by then who the hell knows how the wireless landscape will look like.
Here’s what we think will happen: Dish Network is going to get acquired by either AT&T or Verizon, though more likely AT&T. Instead of building out an LTE-Advanced network using their newly acquired spectrum, AT&T will likely use it to offload some of their 3G network traffic. That valuable sub 1 GHz spectrum they own will then be put to good use by being refarmed exclusively for 4G LTE connectivity.
Look, building a wireless network isn’t easy, and we don’t think Dish has the ambition to shake things up. They built their company on the promise of offering budget satellite television. That doesn’t exactly bode well if you’re expecting them to go head to head with the likes of Verizon.