Dish Network’s (DISH) Chairman Charlie Ergen is said to have “informally approached” T-Mobile’s parent company about a possible merger deal, according to a report from Bloomberg. The company is said to be interested in a deal with the carrier so it can bundle wireless service with its satellite TV offerings. Dish’s proposal reportedly came at around the same time Deutsche Telekom was looking to sweeten its offer for MetroPCS. Deutsche Telekom is said to be considering the merger, though only after the deal with MetroPCS is complete and after verifying that Dish won’t subsequently pursue a similar deal with Sprint (S).
The Federal Communications Commission this week took a big step toward expanding competition in the wireless market by granting Dish Network (DISH) a license to use a 40MHz chunk of satellite spectrum on the 2GHz band for terrestrial LTE-Advanced services. But Engadget reports that although the FCC gave Dish’s proposed LTE network a thumbs up, the company was not fully satisfied with some of the commission’s other decisions, including one that will auction off a valuable chunk of spectrum that Dish would prefer remain unoccupied because it might interfere with its LTE services. All the same, Dish senior vice president and deputy general counsel Jeff Blum praised the FCC for taking “an important step toward facilitating wireless competition and innovation, and fulfilling the goals of the National Broadband Plan.”
The intrigue surrounding the Dish Network’s (DISH) plans to build out its own nationwide mobile data network just got even more interesting. Unnamed sources have told Bloomberg that Sprint (S) has been trying to hash out a deal with Dish that would let the satellite television provider “offer mobile-phone service over the carrier’s network” in exchange for giving Sprint “access to Dish’s mobile airwaves, which aren’t currently being used.” From there, the companies would either “share revenue from customers who sign up for a Dish wireless service, or Dish may pay Sprint a fee to use the network.” Dish, which wants to use a 40MHz chunk of satellite spectrum on the 2GHz band for terrestrial LTE-Advanced services, has also reportedly held talks with Google (GOOG) to jointly operate a nationwide LTE network that would officially set up the companies as direct competitors with wireless giants Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T).
Good news for everyone who wants to see more competition in the United States wireless industry: Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski is throwing his weight behind Dish Network’s (DISH) proposal to use a 40MHz chunk of satellite spectrum on the 2GHz band for terrestrial LTE-Advanced services. Per the Washington Post, Genachowski said Tuesday that approving the Dish LTE plan would be part of the FCC’s overall efforts to create a more competitive wireless market in the U.S. However, Dish itself is apparently unhappy with Genachowski’s proposal and says that it puts far too many restrictions on what power levels it can use on the spectrum. More →
Prepaid wireless carrier MetroPCS (PCS) is said to have held talks with Sprint (S), T-Mobile and Dish Network (DISH) over a potential buyout or merger. According to DealReporter some of the talks are ongoing. Potential buyout rumors have benefited MetroPCS’ stock, which has increased almost 40% in the past year. Analysts have previously speculated that such a transaction is a possibility, although it is seen as more likely that Sprint would purchase the carrier rather than T-Mobile, which operates its network using a different technology. MetroPCS has more than 9.5 million subscribers and operates the country’s sixth-largest mobile network. More →
Listen up, Dish Network: people who tell you stop calling them just aren’t that into you. The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced that it has filed a suit against Dish for allegedly calling consumers even after consumers had told the company to stop. FTC chairman Jon Leibowitz said he found it “particularly disappointing when a well-established, nationally known company — which ought to know better — appears to have flagrantly and illegally made millions of invasive calls to Americans who specifically told Dish Network to leave them alone.” The FTC’s full press release follows below. More →
It’s still a bit early to get excited about the next generation of LTE, called “LTE-Advanced,” that carriers are planning to roll out in a couple of years at the earliest. But Dish Network wants to make sure it’s keeping up with the competition, which is why it has already locked in a deal with Qualcomm to develop LTE-Advanced chipsets for future devices, reports FierceWireless. Dish has a 40MHz chunk of satellite spectrum on the 2GHz band that it’s itching to use for terrestrial LTE-Advanced services if the Federal Communications Commission gives it permission to do so later this year. For the uninitiated, LTE-Advanced will represent a major upgrade over current LTE technologies, as the International Telecommunications Union has said that LTE-Advanced will deliver average download speeds up to 100Mbps (which, coincidentally, was its original requirement for a service to be defined as “4G” before the group caved to pressure from carriers and withdrew its position). More →
CBS, Fox and NBC have independently filed lawsuits against Dish Network, claiming its new automatic commercial-deleting service Auto Hop violates copyright laws; Fox even goes as far as to state that Auto Hop is “destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.” Auto Hop is a feature launched recently for Dish Network’s Hopper DVR. When enabled, the free add-on allows users to automatically skip over commercials aired during prime time shows on each of the four major television broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Networks took issue with the feature immediately, of course, and now complaints have been filed by three of the four affected networks, BGR sister site Deadline reports. Dish has already filed its own complaint with a New York district court seeking a declaratory judgement that its new service is “in full compliance with copyright law and its re-broadcast agreements.” More →
Dish Network made no friends among the major television broadcasters last week, but it will likely pique the interest of tens of thousands of consumers in the coming weeks as news of its latest feature proliferates. Dubbed “Auto Hop,” Dish began rolling out a new commercial-skipping feature to owners of its multi-room digital video recorder, the Hopper. Currently compatible with recorded shows originally broadcast on ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX, Auto Hop skips commercials automatically when enabled, with no action required by the viewer. Groups of ads are replaced by a single black frame for separation, and then the Hopper will skip directly to the next segment of the program. More →
Philip Falcone’s startup LightSquared planned to deploy a nationwide 4G LTE network in the United States. The firm’s service was found to cause interference with spectrum used by various GPS navigation and tracking solutions, however, forcing the Federal Communications Commission to block the network’s launch. Dish Network is looking to build a similar network and is currently awaiting government approval. Executives and analysts have said that Dish will probably avoid the interference concerns that killed LightSquared’s network, Bloomberg reported on Monday. The satellite company’s frequencies, which are above 2GHz, are far away from those used by GPS devices and Lightsquared’s 1600Mhz band, and are less likely to interfere. “It’s not as close to GPS, so it’s unlikely to interfere,” said Matthew Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, which operates more than 60 satellites. “But the approval is going to take some time. The FCC is going to make sure they don’t have another LightSquared problem on their hands.” Bryan Kraft, an analyst at Evercore Partners, believes that Dish will gain FCC approval in 6 to 12 months. More →
After the company’s failed acquisition of T-Mobile, AT&T is said to be in dire need of additional wireless spectrum and may be looking at Dish Network, the second-largest satellite-television provider in the United States. “AT&T wants to get more spectrum,” said Recon Analytics Roger Entner in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. “They are a year behind Verizon in the LTE race. Dish would undoubtedly be a good combination and it would solve a lot of AT&T’s problems.” Dish acquired spectrum from the bankruptcies of DBSD North America and TerreStar Networks. President and CEO Joe Clayton said the company is open to future acquisitions, and with airwaves limited, Dish has become a valuable target. AT&T may now be looking to pay the highest premium in more than a decade to acquire the satellite TV provider, according to Bloomberg. At a reported $50 a share, AT&T would have to pay a 77% premium for Dish, the highest in an acquisition greater than $5 billion by a telecommunications company since 2000. AT&T and Dish Network declined to comment. More →
AT&T is in such need of spectrum following the collapse of its planned acquisition of T-Mobile USA, that one analyst thinks the carrier may soon seek to acquire Dish Network. “Dish and AT&T aren’t direct competitors, and at the end of the day, the government wants to see spectrum used,” Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Christopher King told Bloomberg Tuesday. “It’s highly unlikely regulators would block two AT&T deals in row,” he added, noting that AT&T is “desperate for spectrum.” AT&T wasn’t the only company eyeing a deal with T-Mobile USA, however; Dish Network chief executive officer Joseph Clayton recently said that his company was interested in working with T-Mobile USA to create a national wireless network of its own. Read on for more. More →
Following bankruptcy and an ensuing acquisition at auction, Blockbuster is now trying to lure back the hordes of customers it lost to competitors like Redbox and Netflix. A BGR reader sent us a letter that Blockbuster is circulating to recent defectors in an effort to win back their business in a post-Dish Network world. Among the carrots Blockbuster is currently dangling are a free 30-day Total Access trial and a “special rate,” though that special rate is not disclosed in the email. Blockbuster’s Total Access service was created as a direct response to Netflix, offering DVD rentals by mail just as Netflix does, though Blockbuster’s option is now more affordable following Netflix’s price hikes. Of course Total Access used to be a much more attractive option than it is in its current state, but the lower pricing and the quicker availability of new titles could be attractive benefits over rival Netflix. Blockbuster’s letter to former Total Access customers can be found below. More →