Dish Network hopes to build LTE cellular network

It filed for permission to do so with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission

Satellite TV provider Dish Network hopes to build a 4G cellular network, if the U.S. Federal Communications Commission permits it, according to a filing the satellite provider made on Monday.

Dish, which earlier this year completed an acquisition of bankrupt satellite mobile operator TerreStar, asked the FCC to transfer TerreStar's frequency licenses to a Dish subsidiary and to allow Dish to use the spectrum to build a broadband wireless network that it could then use to offer standalone cellular services.

Combined with spectrum Dish acquired in a separate deal to buy DBSD North America, the satellite provider wants to build a network using LTE, the technology of choice for most of the nationwide mobile phone operators, it wrote.

But it needs special permission from the FCC to offer standalone cellular service--as opposed to a service that is integrated with satellite service--and says it is crucial that it be allowed to do so.

"The requirement to make every device dual-mode severely limits a provider's ability to enter into arrangements with multiple device and equipment manufacturers, thereby limiting consumer choice and severely impairing the business case economics," Dish wrote.

The company also argued that customers want the choice of a smaller, lighter device with long battery life. Adding satellite capabilities to devices makes them heavier and reduces battery life. "Today, a mobile voice and data provider's ability to attract customers depends in large measure on its ability to provide its customers with the types of devices that best suit their needs," it wrote.

Dish wants to offer mobile, portable and fixed broadband services, and bundle them with its satellite services. "Dish expects that the consumer equipment will include broadband-capable tablet computers, among other devices. Once the network is deployed, consumers will be able to use their devices for high-speed Internet access as well as a myriad of IP-based, over-the-top applications, including video," it wrote in its application.

Dish also used the filing to urge the FCC to not allow the proposed AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile. "DISH's plan is threatened by that transaction; it would produce the nation's single largest [mobile] provider and would result in a virtual duopoly within the mobile voice and data services market," it wrote.

The satellite provider said its network could reach millions of people and said it would adhere to a tight schedule for building out the network, should the FCC approve it.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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